12th Sunday after Pentecost 2016 | Do Not Be Anxious

Bible Text: Luke 12:22 ff.


Like most of you, I’m extraordinarily busy, even during the summer.


And so I can’t tell you the last time I just went outside, sat down, and considered birds and flowers.


It’s probably been a while for you as well.

You’ve got a lot to worry about.


It’s schedules, appointments, practices, and all the stuff that we saturate our lives with.

And while it is most certainly true,

That filling up our days this way can make us anxious, that’s not the sort of anxiety Jesus is talking about.


So many of the things we do satisfy created needs –

Things we convince ourselves are necessary.


But today Jesus is talking about actual needs.

Things like food and clothing.

Those are real big needs.

And Your heavenly Father knows you really do need them.


Well, you do now.

There was a time when we didn’t worry about either of these things.

Food that was good to eat filled the garden.

And the weather was so good in a world untouched by sin and shame that nobody needed to wear anything at all.


Until, of course, the serpent crept in with a very convincing proposal:

that you would make better gods than God.


That He is NOT all that concerned with your welfare.

You probably should worry about what you’ll eat.

It started there, but it did not end there.

After the serpent’s lie had been so generously entertained, there was room for new worries:


Knowing that they were naked, what would they wear?

From then on we have heaped up worry upon worry for ourselves.

Food and clothes and all the rest.

Anxiety after anxiety.


It’s the kind of thing that keeps you up at night when ravens and lilies are resting soundly.


And you, you who are worth so much more than they,

you who are entitled to call God your Father, not just Creator,

You spend your time in worry.


Worry that does nothing for you.

It won’t add an hour to your life, or a yard to your journey.

It won’t add food to your table, or a coat to your closet.


Note well: Jesus doesn’t say you shouldn’t be about your work.

God has made you parents and children,

Students, professionals, and spouses.

But last I checked, none of you get paid to worry.

Even if you’re worrying as if you did.


It will happen.

You will be anxious.

You will be worried.


And I know that words like “Don’t Worry” aren’t exactly comforting.

It’s just one more thing you can’t do on your own.


I’m reminded of a time in the Marine Corps when I had to restrain a very combative person who was punching and kicking at one of my men.


Though I had escorted him to the pavement and bound him hand and foot, it was still very difficult for him to simply relax.

No matter how many times I yelled it at him.


Jesus knows this about you.

He knows that the Old Adam, that is your sinful nature

Must daily be drown and die.

Bound hand and foot.


On your own, that won’t happen.

On your own you can seek the kingdom and not find it.

On your own you can try not to worry and then worry about whether or not your worrying.

And once you’re in that loop, just forget about it.


The thing is, you’re not on your own.

Jesus knows your needs.

They’re the same as His.


Jesus has needed clothing and food as much as any one.

And yet, one day, He gave them both up for you.


And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”(Luke 22:14-16)


            And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. (Matthew 27:35)


For Jesus’ sake, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.

And so it is yours.


In your Baptism.

In Holy Absolution.

In the Proclamation of the Holy Gospel,

The Kingdom now come is given to you, one by one, and all of us together.


And so if the Kingdom is yours, then all the rest will be added to you.

That means you are free from worry and anxiety.


It means you who have much more than you need, can actually do what Jesus says. You can actually give it to the needy.

One more good reason to fill up your mite boxes and give alms to the poor.


If anyone asks you later what’s so beautiful or glorious about ravens and lilies, it isn’t simply what your eyes behold:

Feathers and petals.


It is this: that they are nothing but given to,

Free from anxiety, living in total dependence.


Their glory is not their own achievement,

But shows carefree dependence on their Creator.


How much more all of you?

We can live like that.

We can start right now.


You, little flock, come to this altar, clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

And receive the Food of Everlasting Life.

It’s all gift.


No worry.

No fear.

Come what may, you are in Jesus’ hands.


In the week to come, you may notice that you have some free time,

minutes, seconds, or perhaps hours no longer filled with worry.


If you do, consider the birds and the lilies.

It’s a picture of Eden.

And that’s where we’re headed.

About Pastor Hopkins