Worry Turns Your Head

Steve Viars June 6, 2009 Matthew 6:33-34

- Let’s begin our time this am with a question…Are human beings easily distracted?

- what do you think?...most of us would pretty quickly respond with a “yes” on that one…

- now please brace yourself – this might hurt a little bit…Are you easily distracted?...

 

- Isn’t it amazing how many ways that is true?...

1. For example, easily distracted while driving…

- they have this new construction project on SR 26 where they are going to widen and improve the road between Cracker Barrel and Wal-Mart…

- I go through that area pretty frequently and the other day I was watching what how they were assembling the steel rods before pouring the retaining wall under the bridge…I found that fascinating…

- the problem was – I was supposed to be paying attention to actually driving…

- and it was one of those – look back at the last minute and hit the brakes in order to not plow in to the person in front of me…I was easily distracted…

- I’m still getting used to the road around the new airport in Indianapolis…

- and often when I come back from a trip I’m thinking about all the things I need to do when I get back into town…but I was so used to the old road I didn’t really have to think about what I was actually doing…

- the other day I left the airport and all of sudden I’m heading right into downtown…

- somehow I got turned around in the new set of ramps and I couldn’t even remember what road I actually took…I was just distracted…

- you may have also noticed that they have lowered the speed limit in that area…

- I don’t usually pay a whole lot of attention to those signs, after all, the Bible says – “the king’s business requires haste”…so a few weeks ago I was completed engrossed in some other issue I was thinking about and a friendly state trooper had to remind me of the importance of not being distracted…

- but it’s hard to stay focused, isn’t it?...

2. That’s becoming truer at work…

- it used to be when you had a meeting, people walked in with a legal pad and a pen and whatever documents they needed for that particular meeting and the concept was that your job was to stay focused on whatever was being discussed at the time…

- that day is long gone…people are taking cell phone calls…walking in and out…

- checking up on their sports teams on their cell phones…sending e-mails and text messages…

- and all of that can become very addictive…we are easily distracted…

- in fact, we instituted a policy at our staff meetings and pastor/deacons meetings that we leave our electronic gadgets at home…

- if someone needs a cell phone for the possibility of an emergency call—that’s one thing…but we want to be able to give undivided attention to whoever is speaking and whatever needs to be discussed or decided at the time…

- and I know the argument – folks say that they can do 2 things at once…

- sometimes I wonder if we’re talking about multi-tasking or just plain rudeness…

- it’s easy to be distracted…

 

3. another example of that is internet use…A group called Accountability International recently produced an article entitled…

INTERNET ABUSE CONTINUES TO STEAL WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY DESPITE THE USE OF FILTERS

The Problem, the Cost, and the Solution

By Deon Fair, Daniel Zimmerman, Michael Eberhardt, and Art Hobbs

 

THE INTERNET: INDISPENSABLE AND SOMETIMES UNLAWFUL

Without question, the incorporation of the Internet as a workplace tool is recognized as one of the most important productivity tools of the last decade. However, in providing workers with a desktop computer and Internet access, businesses have placed at the fingertips of their employees the unlimited ability to engage in an ever-increasing range of online activities during normal business hours. Such sites often include:

 

· Entertainment sites · Sports sites · Shoppingsites · Stock trading sites

· Gaming sites · Financial/banking sites · Auction sites · News sites

· Weather sites · Music sites · Job search sites · Web e-mail.

 

The interactive, visually stimulating nature of these sites provides an environment where it is easy for employees to spend time surfing instead of performing work. Indeed, with the entry of younger employees into the workforce this problem is exacerbated in light of the “Internet Age” in which they grew up…Lost productivity through personal Internet usage during business hours has an impact that costs companies millions or tens of millions of dollars per year.

 

Statistics Don’t Lie

The evidence that demonstrates the extent of this problem is compelling. Consider what experts have published as statistics:

  • Nielsen studies show more than 18 hours per week is spent by workers visiting websites during working hours.
  • A study published by Snapshot Spy reflects employee admissions that the Internet is used for personal purposes up to three hours per day.
  • Snapshot Spy also reports that 64 percent of workers acknowledge use of the Internet for personal purposes during work hours and that a significant number state that Internet use can be “addictive.”
  • An Internet Data Corp. survey published by Snapshot Spy reports that up to 40 percent of workplace Internet use is not business related.
  • The same Internet Data Corp. survey reveals that up to 60 percent of all online purchases are made during regular work hours.
  • Workers spend twice as much time online at work as at home as reported by Snapshot Spy.
  • Snapshot Spy also states that employee online access facilitates misappropriation of company intellectual property and employee financial fraud.

- admittedly, statistics are always a bit suspect, and this group is trying to sell additional filters to corporations trying to get their arms around this problem…but if these numbers are even close to being accurate, they certainly demonstrate the point we’re trying to make…we human beings are easily distracted…

- now let’s push all of this one step further…do you know one of the ways in which this is especially true?...it’s the matter of worry…because the Word of God would want us to see that Worry Turns Your Head

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Matthew chapter 6…page 4 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- this morning, we’re planning to complete this study we’ve been doing for the last seven weeks entitled Finding Hope in Handling Worry...this has been a verse-by-verse study of Matthew 6:25-34…it’s a bit unusual for us to spend that much time on such a small number of verses…but this is a topic/passage of Scripture that we wanted to be sure we understood thoroughly…

- Introduction – hopefully everyone here, unless you’re just joining us, could walk us through what we’ve emphasized thus far…

1. Worry Tears You Up.

- that idea comes from the meaning of the term “worry” in this passage…that’s the Greek word merimnaw – [which occurs 5 different times in this short text] -- “To divide, rip or tear apart.”

- so any time you are thinking about some possible problem or difficulty in the future to the point that your focus is divided, and your heart is divided, your allegiance is divided…that’s worry…the net effect is, it tears you up inside…

2. Worry Makes You Small.

- that comes from Jesus’ question in Matthew 6:25 – Is not life more than ______?

- the answer is “yes” -- unless you let worry put blinders on your mind…reducing your field of vision and in so doing, make you small…

3. Worry Steals Your Hope.

- even the birds and the lilies prove that God can do His job of caring for our needs…birds are well fed…lilies are well clothed…in God’s plan and in His time...

4. Worry Wastes Your Time.

- that comes from Jesus’ question in verse 27 - Matthew 6:27 - And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

- and the answer is – none of us – worry accomplishes nothing…

5. Worry Offends Your Father.

- twice in this text the Son of God Himself emphasized that it is possible for people like you and me to enjoy that level of intimacy with the very God of heaven and earth…

-  and the point was that a position that was so precious – God being our Father – should motivate us to never offend Him by worrying as if He couldn’t/wouldn’t give us everything we need…

- last week we studied how:

6. Worry Leads You Astray

- if we’re not careful, we’ll handle potential worry situations just like the Gentiles, just like those who don’t know the Lord, and miss marvelous opportunities to shine the bright light of Jesus Christ to a world that so desperately needs Him…

 

- just to let you know, next week we plan to start a new series that will take us through the summer entitled Hope In Growing from Your Past

- the reason many in our culture have trouble looking forward with joy and enthusiasm is because some event or relationship or choice in the past feels like a proverbial ball and chain…

- I’ll explain next week why that’s the topic we’ve chosen for the summer, and it’s sort of an unusual tale – but for our purposes today…let’s complete our study of worry by thinking about how Worry Turns Your Head

- let’s read our text one last time…read Matthew 6:25-34

 

- the principle today is that if you let it, worry will distract you…

- with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 ways worry turns your head.

 

I. Worry Distracts You From What You Should Want the Most.

- many of you have the responsibility of managing employees, or owning a business…

- you may still be back on the illustration I used a moment ago about internet use, wondering if you have any employees who are distracted in that fashion…and the obvious next question is – if they’re spending time on that---what company priorities are being lost in the shuffle…

- think about that from the perspective of the God of heaven…

- He has given each of us a job to do…is that right?...

- and would you also agree – it is a great privilege and honor to be able serve God with the lives and the resources He has entrusted to us…

- well, what if there was a study that quantified the amount of time we spend worrying, similar to the one that logged personal internet use on company time…

- that report might be a bit scandalous as well…

- and part of the emphasis would be – worry is distracting the people of God from what they should be wanting the most…

- now, if you say – well, what should I be wanting the most on any given day?...on what should I be focusing?...

- this passage answers that question very clearly…doesn’t it?

A. The kingdom of God.

- now, it’s very important to lock on to that…

- it doesn’t help us to use “christian-ese” without really knowing what the terminology specifically means…

- what is involved in “seeking first the kingdom of God”?....How would you define that?

- if I asked you – have you been seeking first the kingdom of God this week, how would you answer and what specific evidence would you give to back up what you had said?

- please keep in mind that these verses are part of the Sermon on the Mount that is contained in Matthew 5, 6, and 7…

- throughout this text, there are allusions to the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven…

Matthew 5:3 - Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:10 - Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19 - Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

- you see that kind of terminology all over this passage because Matthew wanted His readers to understand that Jesus came to offer the promised messianic kingdom to the Jewish nation…

- and this passage explains what it would be like to live in this kind of place and enjoy this kind of rule…

- but a significant portion of the remainder of His ministry was devoted to explaining that these conditions could not be achieved unless the very Son of God was willing to die in their place…

- they had to admit their own sin…and come to God in repentance and faith…

- the gospel goes on to explain that this offer was officially rejected by the Jewish leaders in Matthew chapter 12 which is why the very next chapter has a series of seven parables, all of them sharing the common theme of delay…

- that’s why at the crucifixion, it was such a powerful moment when Pilate saidJohn 19:15a - …“Shall I crucify your King?”

- and what was their answer?...John 19:15b - The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

- you may recall that an argument even ensued because John 19:19 - Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

- the text goes on to report that John 19:21 -- So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’ ”

- do you remember Pilate’s response?

- John 19:22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

- that’s how people in Bible times said – “shut it”

 

- if you want to study that piece further, read Romans chapters 9-11 because the apostle Paul explains that just because God has set aside Israel and grafted the church into His plan and program…He still has a very definite and literal plan for Israel in the future…

- that’s how the book of Revelation fits into this because it explains that the day is coming when Jesus will return and establish His millennial kingdom on this earth in literal and complete fulfillment of all the OT prophesies and promises He’s made to His people…

 

- you might say – what does that have to do with us – in the meantime, in the age of grace or the church age, we can simulate kingdom conditions here and now because we’re personally related to the king…as we subdue ourselves and our surroundings in joyful submission to the One we want to rule over us…

- so here’s what all of this means…seeking first His kingdom means living joyfully and obediently for Christ every day regardless of what He would sovereignly bring into our lives…we want to seek first His kingdom rule in our hearts and lives every day…we are looking for opportunities to demonstrate that He is our Lord…

- the $100 question is – what does that have to do with worry?...

- (do you really want to discuss the answer to that question) – often the very items we worry about are the things our king could bring into our lives to advance His kingdom purposes…

 

- let me give you a hard one…we often have a lot of families who are expecting babies around here…the deacons are still trying to get their arms around exactly what’s going on…but it’s a regular issue around here…

- well, often if you ask a person or a couple expecting a baby—which would you like, a boy or girl?...(which in my mind is a fairly goofy question)…but what’s the stock answer?...

- it doesn’t matter, as long as he/she is healthy…

- have you ever thought about how those words impact parents with special needs children?

- have you ever thought about how those words impact a special needs person?

- let’s face it – many parents and grandparents and associated friends and family members are going to spend the next several months worrying about something that is completely out of their control instead of seeking first the kingdom of God…

- and I’m not saying we need to get all spiritual about the way that question is answered…

- but what ought to reside in our hearts is – whatever would bring most glory to the king…

- whatever would give me the greatest opportunity to demonstrate that God can give me the joy and the strength necessary to submit to Him even when it’s hard…

- I’m not going to be distracted by all of my wants…what I’m going to seek first..what I’m going to concentrate on today…is the kingdom of God…

 

- friend, is it possible that you’ve let worry turn your head?...now, what’s the other piece of that equation?...

B. His righteousness.

- see, do you really want God to develop righteousness in you?...

- and is it possible that many of the things that you worry about are the very things that, if they occurred, could be used by God to develop greater righteousness in you?

- see, worry reveals what you want…

- do you really want your way, or do you truly want God’s righteousness?...

 

- ultimately that means that the content of your worries reveals the identity of your god…

- [if time – develop garden variety idols – having a problem free life, being the way you want to be treated din your marriage, never having to experience a painful loss, never hearing a bad diagnosis…]

 

- the key question is – have you allowed worry to distract you from what you should want the most?...

- before we go further, I’d like you to hear from one of our graduates of Vision of Hope (explain the program)…testimony

 

II. Worry Distracts You From What You Should Do First.

- some of you are probably a bit surprised that your pastor was so distracted by a construction project  that he almost ran into the car in front of him…

- or by whatever I was thinking about at the airport that I took the wrong road on one recent occasion or got a traffic ticket on another…

- and I realize you might say – how could you be so distracted?...

- well, how frequently are you distracted by…

A. Don’t worry about tomorrow.

- let me remind of 2 quotes we used several weeks ago…

- French Philosopher Michel de Montaigne said -- My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.

- C. H. Spurgeon said – Such strange creatures are we that we probably smart more under blows which never fall upon us than we do under those which actually come.

- and the point is…

B. Use your energy to focus on accomplishing today’s responsibilities and seizing today’s opportunities.

- it couldn’t be any clearer…Matthew 6:34 - So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

- see, that’s the problem with a man who’s so worried about losing his job that he’s a grump to his wife and his kids…

- if you’ve done everything you can today to perform well at work and be as prepared as possible for a change in your job situation if that were to occur…then it’s time to leave the future in the hands of the Lord and get busy loving your wife and kids today…while you have the opportunity to do so…

- the principle is – don’t let worry about something that may never happen distract you from the opportunities that you definitely have right now…

 

- I know that many people in our church wholeheartedly believe that [discuss the financial generosity of our people…]

 

- now, as we conclude all of this, let’s tie it back into our overall theme this year…

III. Worry Distracts You From Where Your Hope Should Be Found.

- see, if you choose to learn to handle worry God’s way…you can face the future with tremendous hope…

- Psalm 146:5 - How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God,


 

- Conclusion…

 

- I wonder if God has a warehouse in heaven called – all that could have been accomplished in My name if the time and energy hadn’t been wasted on worry…

- or, here’s what life looks like when my children seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and don’t allow themselves to be distracted by the worries of tomorrow…

- and as productive as our church family is…responding properly to this series could potentially help us bring more resources to the table, couldn’t it?

 

1. Community Center letter from Boy Scout troop

 

2. Mentoring program for Habitat for Humanity

 

3. Mentoring program for Babies Can’t Wait

 

4. “   “ Big Brothers/Big Sisters

 

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video