Luke 12:25 “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”
Can you imagine if we could figure out how to add time to our lives by worrying? If worrying lengthened my life, I would be practically immortal! Which gives me an idea, and I want credit for coming up with it first. They should do a new Twilight-like series – but instead of vampires as the immortal sparkly beings, it could be worriers… also with sparkles? [I’d pick different lead actors… no offense to my Twilight-loving friends].
Anywaayyyy….. Unfortunately, I excel at worrying – about my friends and loved ones, about social situations, about my job and my home. I admire people who can roll with punches and let things go easily, but that has never been my strong suit.
Today’s verse comes in a chapter in Luke where Jesus is talking to a crowd of people gathered “by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another” (Luke 12:1). He talks to them about a variety of worries they have. I can picture the scene, all of these questions and concerns being shouted from the crowd, with people looking for answers and consolation. Jesus reassures the crowd how much they mean to God, “But even the hairs of your head are all counted, do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7) He advises them to live generous lives with a “you can’t take it with you” story. Jesus is encouraging them to “strive for the kingdom” (Luke 12:31a).
I think Jesus is trying to help us orient our lives, which can naturally become balls of worry, or grief, or anxiety. If we focus on accumulating wealth, or carry stress about how we’re going to get through the day, it can interfere with our ability to live with generous hearts. Jesus is not discounting the stress or worry we may feel, or people’s day to day concerns, especially those who are hungry or homeless. Instead, Jesus is calling us to let go of the worries of this world and focus on serving God.
Since I’m not able to make myself live longer by worrying about it, I will try to take a deep breath and roll with it. I will look for ways I can help others rather than protect my own interests. I will try to risk social awkardness by speaking up for those who are excluded. I will open up my pocketbook and give to organizations like my church and Cascade AIDS Project. But mostly, I’m going to try to trust God – to trust that we are loved as we are, to trust that the lives we live are important, and to trust that we can make a difference in the lives of others.
And here’s a picture of me – not worrying but still sparkly at AIDS Walk Portland, 2012 with the fabulous Svetlana.
Gracious God, thank you for reminding us that we are precious. Help us to boldly choose lives of generosity and service, trusting in your care. Watch over those who have very real worries about where they will sleep or get their next meal. Please keep us all safe [and sparkly]. Amen.