WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 27, 2011
PUTTING WORRY TO REST
(Putting worry in its place)
GOD has already built into HIS creation, all of the means by which all living things can be cared for. Everything that we need to survive has always existed with us in this world. In the biblical Greek, the word “merimnao” (mer-im-nah-o) is used to convey the idea to “take no thought of” in the old King James Version, and “do not worry about” in the New King James, and New Living Translation versions of the bible. It is a phrase that is used several times by JESUS in Matthew chapter 6, verses 25-34, in HIS landmark “Sermon on the Mount”. In these ten verses JESUS uses seven illustrations in defense of HIS argument against “worrying” about things that only GOD THE FATHER has control over.
He begins first, in verse 25, by pointing out the obvious fact that, if GOD gives us life, why wouldn’t HE give us the food and other necessities required in sustaining that life. A mature Christian should have no difficulty trusting GOD to provide them with their daily bread, clothing, and other needs.
The second point JESUS makes, in verse 26, is HIS illustration of the birds of the air, and how they are fed daily by HIS Heavenly FATHER. And even though the birds do work diligently, as we all should, they do not worry about stockpiling large amounts of food. They, instead, just continue to stay busy, working and concerning themselves only with what supplements they need for the current day. Could it be that they understand something about GOD that we don’t?
In HIS third point, verse 27, JESUS attempts to show how useless worry can be, as HE points out that, no one can advance, neither their physical stature, nor their length of days and years, by constantly worrying.
In HIS fourth point, verses 28-30, JESUS turns our attention to the lilies of the fields, and how they grow daily through a natural process. In the first century, the flowers that JESUS was probably alluding to were the scarlet poppies and anemones that bloomed and blossomed on the hillsides of Palestine. In their one-day life-spans, they were clothed in a beauty that was unsurpassed, even by King Solomon, when he was dressed in his finest garbs. JESUS reasoned that, if GOD gives such beauty of array to the lowly, short-lived flowers, how much more will HE clothe us? Not only will GOD clothe us, but HE will clothe us with a beauty that goes way beyond man’s ability to imitate.
JESUS’ fifth point of argument against worrying is a very fundamental one. In verse 32 HE reminds us that worry shows distrust in GOD, and a total lack of faith in GOD’s ability to do what HE says HE can and will do for us. It is a characteristic of a pagan, or unbeliever, who is still fool enough to think that they can take matters into their own hands and succeed without help from GOD, even though they may have continued to fail miserably in life, over and over again.
In points six and seven, JESUS gives us two ways that we can defeat worry. The first is that we make the “Kingdom of GOD” our primary concern. The familiar Christian advice that we should “seek ye first the Kingdom of GOD, and all the rest, will be added unto you” comes to mind in this statement. To be in the Kingdom, and to do the will of GOD are one in the same thing, and so, therefore, doing and accepting GOD’s Will is the primary way to defeat “worry”.
Finally, JESUS informs us that we can also defeat worry, pretty much the same way that the birds do, and that is, by taking one day at a time. GOD is in control yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and only HE knows, in advance, what each day will bring. Through CHRIST JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice on the cross, HE has saved us from our past evils. Through HIS mercies and grace, HE provides for us in the present, day by glorious day. And through HIS lending to us, HIS HOLY SPIRIT, HE wants to guide us into a future of obedience to HIS Will, even though HE does not promise us a tomorrow.
The great 20th century Apologist, William Barclay, summed it all up this way, “If each day is lived as it comes, and each task is done as it appears, then the sum of all days is bound to be good. It is JESUS’ advice that we should handle the demands of each day as it comes, without worrying about the unknown future, and those things, which may never happen”.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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