Happy Sunday: How Material Things Cause Us To Worry

Sometimes, we are buried in worry. We drown in anxiety and worry when we face uncertainty, threats and insecurity. We worry about the future. We worry when troubles loom ahead and we do not know how things will turn out.

Many times, we beat ourselves over the head and say  “I was worried about something that worked out just fine.” We even worry about our faith that God will provide everything that we need.

Worry comes when our attachment to material and immaterial things defines us and rules our lives. When our posessions, status, peace and happiness are threatened,  we can’t get back to one of the fundamental tenets of our faith:

Don’t worry! Have faith in God. Remember Jesus and how his suffering gave us the gift of our relationship with God. Remember that we have the greatest material possession of all: we have life.

We are supposed to pray in times of trouble. Our prayers have three components: the requests for favors, giving thanks and Praising God.

When we pray this way, we remind ourselves that God never stops giving us blessings. We remember that those blessings are given to us whether we ask for them or not.  We get many blessings from God that we do not even notice or know about!

When we remind ourselves of God’s blessings by praising them, we remind ourselves of  God’s great love for us. We realize that God knows what is best for us and will do what is best for us.

God loves us all and gets us to where we need to be. God moves us for reasons that we may not understand. God cares for us in mysterious ways. God moves us with an invisible hand. When we have fears and worries, we will feel better if we praise, thank, ask in faith, and serve. We will feel better after reminding ourselves that we have the gift of life through Jesus.

 

About.com has a detailed discussion about worries and how the bible addresses them.  “Philippians 4:6-7 says

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We Worry About Money and Material Things:

Matthew 6:19 says “Therefore, set your priorities on God and not on money.”

Our attachment to material things is the fastest route to  anxiety and worry. We know that material things can be lost, stolen, broken or wear out. We know that we may lose our ability to provide material things for others.  We associate our ability to show love for others with the ability to to give material things and money.

Money is more critical to people than ever before, because so many people have lost the ability to make, grow, and trade  skills. In the prosperous nations, most people cannot survive without the things that money buys. Money is required for everything. It has to come from somewhere.

Once we have gotten money and used it to buy material things, it is easy to become seriously attached to those material things. Our societies push consumption. Every time we listen to our ubiquitous media machines, we are told that material things will make us healthy, beautiful, wise, powerful, safe, respectable and good.

We become attached to our roles as consumers. The more we consume, the more we worry about either losing or getting more money. We worry more about losing the things that we already own. When it comes to food, clothing and shelter, the worries are serious. But when we worry about losing luxury and convenience items, then something has to give.

(Matthew 6:24). In this verse, Jesus said,

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Oddly, it can become easier to enjoy our money than it is to  enjoy the gift of life. This leads to defining ourselves by our material possessions and not by the fact that we have lives.

Worse, we have Christians telling us that we are not in God’s favor if we do not have plenty of money. They try to convince us that God’s favor manifests in the form of money, power and possessions. This blocks people from recognizing and enjoying the gifts that God gives us constantly and without fail.

And when we serve and praise the source of the money, we wander away from serving and praising God.  This is why we cannot serve two masters.

God loves us all and gets us to where we need to be. God moves us for reasons that we may not understand. God cares for us in mysterious ways. God moves us with an invisible hand. When we have fears and worries, we will feel better if we praise, thank, ask in faith, and serve. We will feel better after reminding ourselves that we have the gift of life through Jesus.

Immaterial Things That We Covet And Worry About:

Social position is an immaterial possession that we worry about. We use our titles and positions to define ourselves. We take our place in relation to others. We obsess over our job title, our standing in the community, our incomes, and our standing with our friends and loved ones.

Some of us obsess over being the servant while others obsess over being served.

When we face a drastic change in social position, we fear that we will become useless or less worthy in the eyes of others. We fear the loss of guides,  structures, perks and protections that others do not have.

Retirement, graduating from school, losing a job, becoming disabled, and transitioning from military to civilian life are big examples of drastic changes in social position.

Institutional structure is an immaterial benefit that people come to rely on. We cannot tell others who we are and what we do for a living. We lose contact with friends as we head into an uncertain future. We cannot tell people what to do. We have no rule book, task assignments or specific duties to tell us what to do.

Superiority and inferiority is an immaterial possession. People become attached to relative position, title, money or other symbols of their place in the human pecking order. Some actually boast that their lower position protects them from the risks that come with higher rank or position.

Fears and worries come when such transient and immaterial possessions gain too much power over our lives.

We need to see ourselves and others as human beings who have vastly more to offer than age, beauty, rank, income levels or job titles.

God loves us all and gets us to where we need to be. God moves us for reasons that we may not understand. God cares for us in mysterious ways. God moves us with an invisible hand. When we have fears and worries, we will feel better if we praise, thank, ask in faith, and serve. We will feel better after reminding ourselves that we have the gift of life through Jesus.

When we cannot see where it is that God’s invisible hand is moving us, we can ease our fears and worries by  thinking about serving God. We can take time to praise God for giving us everything that we need in order to do that service.

Then we feel better. We calm down. We have some peace in the middle of  turmoil.

This process makes us think about the beauty and good of life, no matter what our standing is now or may be in the future. By praising God and thinking of being in service, we can stop worrying about our social standing or position. We can stop worrying and fretting about losing or ending a major phase of life. We can stop fearing the future and take care of the present.

Summary:

Survival today is more about  money, position or title than ever. We do need those things. But when we allow material and immaterial “things” to guide us and define us, we forget that God loves us , defines us, and will give us what we need.

God cares for us in mysterious ways. God moves us with an invisible hand. When we have fears and worries, we will feel better if we praise, thank, ask in faith, and serve. We will feel better after reminding ourselves that we have the gift of life through Jesus.

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