Got Trouble?

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day." Matthew 6:34

Jesus had as much or more to say about trouble, anxiety, worry, etc. in the Sermon on the Mount than any other single topic. 6:25-34 focuses exclusively on this theme and 6:19-24 serves as a foundation to describe the causes and solutions.

In fact, somewhat surprisingly we do not find in Jesus words in the Sermon on the Mount much material that constitutes what might be thought of as "traditional theology." Jesus did not discuss God's nature and attributes, or the Spirit's activities, or even His own atonement. His topics were very life-centered, aimed generally at the things that get between us and God.

Trouble is certainly a common obstruction. Whatever the trouble is we tend to think of it as a referendum on God. That is, if He cared enough for me He would remove the problem. Or because He has not removed the problem then perhaps He's not all He's cracked up to be.

This topic can take volumes to address, but let me try to shed a little light on two of the most basic ways we can positively approach trouble, and both suggestions come directly the context of Jesus' teaching (always a good place to start).

First, our focus must definitely be on Jesus. The teaching in 6:16-24 sets the foundation for Jesus' extended treatment of worry. He used three illustrations to make the same point. First, we are to store up treasures in heaven as opposed to earthly treasures (6:16-21). We surely know this is true, but having a roof over our heads, a car that starts, and the latest smart phone are simply hugely important! Jesus always emphasized relationships over things. Find a way to serve someone today. That will be far more eternal than purchasing another gadget.

Physical needs always shout louder than spiritual necessities. An unfortunate side-effect is useless anxiety over the things. Which by the way, things almost always work out. Don't live your life by the exceptions. God gives enough blessings to get through each day and they are almost always found in the people around you.

The second illustration in the foundation having a "sound eye" (6:22-23). The word literally means single, so the focus is literally on focus. Look to God to gauge your actions and thoughts. Again in a terrible irony, the world screams, God whispers. To stay with the light analogy the world is Vegas, God is a starry night.

The final illustration for the foundation concerns dedication and obedience (6:24). The great fault of American Christianity is that we try to mix in a little mammon with our faith. OR too often a little faith with our mammon. This simply will not do.

So we give our highest and best to God, and now we are ready to respond to trouble. According to so many teachings, in every strata of the Bible, God simply will not allow trouble to overtake you. As He provided manna daily (and only daily) He will provide a grace that is sufficient for the trouble you face this morning. There is simply no way around this immutable fact.

Our problem, in the main, is stretching our cluttered minds into the future and envisioning countless scenarios which on the one hand almost certainly will not happen, and absolutely certainly will not be beyond God's ability to provide help. You are running a race you've already won.

So you will have a little or a lot of trouble today. Focus on God, take a deep breath of the Spirit, and take the hand of Jesus to get through. You will.


Dr. Terry Ellis

May 20, 2013

1 Comment
  1. i found this information quite stimulating, it reminds that God whispers still and you really have listen. I find the joy in an obstacle that's starting to overwhelm me. No matter how hard. He is just there, I need to be louder but quite enough to hear. Instead of quick fixes.