When a gifted preacher is nailing a sermon, you would think that it wouldn’t be difficult to follow and engage. But we aren’t so simple, are we. I was in the church of one of the most gifted preachers I know, and this particular morning he was on his game. He was teaching out of Luke 12:22-34, where Jesus exhorts his disciples trust in God’s plan for them and not to worry. The pastor did an amazing job of explaining Jesus’ challenge, while applying it tenderly to some of our greatest fears. I was torn between two thoughts that morning. First, I have some very real, very active fears. Jesus was doing work in some of my most painful areas. But my second thought that morning was on two others in the crowd.
Two of the biggest “worriers” I know just happened to be in the audience that day. The pastor’s words had the opportunity to really help both of these people. After the service ended, I went up to both of these friends, one at a time, and inquired about what they got out of the sermon. “It was alright, I guess,” said one. The other conveyed to me how bored they were and how the pew hurt their rear end.
I was really disappointed. No, I was annoyed. These two had just squandered a real opportunity to make some in-roads in areas that cause them immense pain. Yet, as I continued to reflect, the words of Jesus came alive to me in new ways. “Do Not Worry” also means that I have to trust Jesus when he isn’t working in other’s lives the way I would prefer. How about you? Does your trust of God extend to those friends and family who are making bad choices? Do you believe God can reach them, even if they are squandering wonderful opportunities?
Let us pray: God, it is hard enough to trust you with what is going on in our own lives, but help us to trust and not worry about what you are doing in the lives of those we love and care about. Amen.
Mark Hults is a graduate of Purdue University and the Columbia Theological Seminary. Early in his career Mark worked for the InterVarsity Ministries, and he is now serving as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Green Cove Springs, Florida.