Photo by Stephen Walker on Unsplash
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
((5. Oops!: Life is full of worry.))
Jesus says, “Don’t be anxious.” That’s what He’s telling you today. “Don’t worry.” “Don’t worry.” “Don’t WORRY.” “DON’T worry.” “Don’t worry!” No matter which way I try to emphasize it, it’s a tall order.
I mean, let’s be honest, here. Jesus says, “Don’t worry,” and that’s basically impossible, isn’t it? It doesn’t take long to think about things that make us worried and afraid. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. There’s civil unrest. There’s hurricanes, wildfires. There’s probably a looming economic struggle waiting in the wings. It’s an election year. A Supreme Court seat to be filled. And no amount of Jesus telling us, “Don’t worry. Don’t worry about tomorrow,” will make us stop thinking about what’s coming.
But even if we boil it down to what Jesus tells us, there’s no comfort. Jesus says, “Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will wear.” But food and clothing don’t just come from no where. All the problems I just mentioned affect what we eat and wear. Those bills keep piling up along with all the other ones!
((4. Ugh!: “Does God even care to help me?”))
Jesus says, “Don’t worry,” but no matter how hard we try, we still worry. Worry comes from unbelief. We don’t “fear, love, and trust in God above all things” like we should. We’re worried about all sorts of things because we don’t believe God will care for us. We say it, we may even say we believe, but we’re not that confident about it. Otherwise we wouldn’t worry.
“Look at the birds.” They don’t struggle. They’re fed. They’re songs are always happy—never a tear. “Think about the flowers.” They don’t toil. They don’t do anything. They just grow. They bloom. They’re beautiful. God cares for the birds. He blesses the flowers. “What about me?,” you might think. “Why doesn’t He care for me like that?”
Our worries abound. “Maybe there isn’t enough to go around. Maybe He doesn’t care, at least not well enough to help me.” Worry upon worry. Our doubt about God caring for us grows more worry. Worry gives way to fear. Just think about how much of our time is consumed with prices and money: cattle, grain, food, bills, statements.
((3. Aha!: THE HEAVENLY FATHER, WHO CARES FOR THE BIRDS, ISN’T THEIR HEAVENLY FATHER, BUT HE IS YOURS!))
Birds and flowers seem to get first dibs. They don’t have to work. They don’t have sleepless nights. The flowers bloom. The birds sing. We work hard, and what do we have to show for it? Endless worry, endless anxiety.
Yes, the heavenly Father cares for the birds. Yes, He causes the flowers to flourish and grow. But they aren’t His children. He’s their Creator, and that’s it. That means He cares for them. But as much as He cares for them, daily and much, the honor and blessing and gift of being His child doesn’t belong to them.
In the middle of our world of worry, there’s comfort for you and me. And here it is: THE HEAVENLY FATHER, WHO CARES FOR THE BIRDS, ISN’T THEIR HEAVENLY FATHER, BUT HE IS YOURS.
((2. Whee!: He really is your heavenly Father.))
It’s really true: THE HEAVENLY FATHER, WHO CARES FOR THE BIRDS, ISN’T THEIR HEAVENLY FATHER, BUT HE IS YOURS. He really is! Jesus says so twice! “Your heavenly Father feeds them.” “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” Jesus wants you to cling to that. It’s why He says it twice! “Your heavenly Father.” “Your heavenly Father.”
Look at the price “your heavenly Father” pays for you. “He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all! How will He not with Him graciously give us all things.” “You are worth more than many sparrows.”You are worth the precious blood of Christ. You are worth His innocent suffering and death. Not that you are worthy of such a price. No, you are worth what He paid because that’s what He paid for you.
Jesus lived a worry-free life in your place. He always trusted His heavenly Father to care for Him. He never worried about where daily bread came from. Didn’t worry about His clothing. Didn’t worry about what He would eat or drink or wear. “Foxes have holes,but the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to lay His head.” Even so, Jesus trusted His Father, even when all He had to drink was sour wine, even when His garments were divided among the soldiers. Even there: “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”
And Jesus’ Father is your Father! Jesus makes sure of that. Jesus rose from the dead and established baptism so that you and I would be called children of God. And that’s what we are because of Jesus, not because of what we do or don’t do. “The heavenly Father” is “your heavenly Father” because Jesus, His Son, said so (twice!), because Jesus paid His blood for you, and because you are baptized with Jesus’ baptism, which makes you a co-heir with Him in His Father’s Kingdom.
((1. Yeah!: Your heavenly Father will care for you.))
The birds are the afterthought. The flowers get second billing to you. They aren’t children of the heavenly Father. “Your heavenly Father feeds them.” Yes, even them. You’re first in the Father’s heart. He gave His dearest treasure—His Son—for you. You’re His baptized child, and when you look at the birds or the flowers, just realize they came later on the to-do list of the universe than you. As cared-for and beautiful as the birds and flowers are, they aren’t a child of the creator of the universe. You are. Baptized.
He rules all things to give you what you need to support your body and life. “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all of them.” He supplies your needs—“richly and daily.” Through His Son’s death and resurrection, He forgives your worry, “nailing it to the cross.” You don’t need worry about what you will wear. You were clothed with Christ’s righteousness in Holy Baptism. You don’t need to worry about what you will eat or drink. The Father’s Son uses His almighty Word to deliver His body and blood to you under the bread and wine.
The Father and the Son ruled the universe and history to make sure you, yes you, got all that! “Born of the Virgin Mary and suffered under Pontius Pilate.” The particular baptismal font on the particular day you were baptized. Bread and wine that are His body and blood. If He ruled the universe to do those things, daily bread’s easy. Besides, the Father even feeds the birds. Why worry? THE HEAVENLY FATHER, WHO CARES FOR those BIRDS, ISN’T THEIR HEAVENLY FATHER, BUT HE IS YOURS.
INI + AMEN.