A few years ago I read a news story about an elderly lady who died. The coroner’s report read “Cause of death…malnutrition.” At the time of her death, she weighed 50 pounds.

When the authorities began their investigation into her death, they found that her house was a pigpen. She begged food from her neighbours and got what little clothing she had from the Salvation Army. She appeared to be a hermit, but that was not the case. In the mess officials found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two local banks. In one box were over 700 AT&T stock certificates and hundreds of other valuable stocks, bonds and financial securities along with a stack of cash amounting to over $200,000. The other box contained over $600,000 in cash. Altogether the lady had a net worth of over one million dollars. The estate went to a distant niece and nephew, neither of whom dreamed that their aunt had a cent to her name.

The lady wasn’t saving her money. She was worshipping it, just like many people worship material goods such as food, clothing and shelter. She would have been wise to heed the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6:7: “Don’t put your hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. But put your hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” God doesn’t tell us not to stop worrying about food and shelter and clothing because we don’t really need them. He knows we need them. He wants us to stop worrying because he has promised to take care of every need we have.

With God on our side, we do not need to worry about our needs. He will supply our needs, and not necessarily our wants. For example, if we need a car and approach God in prayer with our request, he might give us a ’57 Chevy even though we sing the old song, “O Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz.” God knows our needs and so he will take care of us. We have to balance our desires with God’s wisdom and blessing. If we believe in him, he will take care of our needs and we can concentrate on living one day at a time.

God provides our lives and our bodies. He is powerful enough to create life, so he is powerful enough to provide for that life. Worrying about our needs does not guarantee that they will be met. If we worry about our needs, it shows that we have little faith in God’s promise to care for us and his power to fulfill that promise. To be successful in our hearts, we have to accept Christ, follow Christ and serve Christ. We can make God our number one priority by serving him instead of man and by using what he has given us to help others.

Worry steals our peace and joy and affects every area of our lives. For example, many health problems are caused in part by worry and stress. If we trust God, worry will be replaced by faith and the knowledge that God will provide for us. We can then take comfort in the words of Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 hit song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.

Here’s a little song I wrote

You might want to sing it note for note

Don’t worry

Be happy

In every life we have some trouble

When you worry you make it double

Don’t worry

Be Happy

When you worry your face will frown

That will bring everybody down

Don’t worry

Be Happy

When we walk with God, our faith will consume our fears. Because God provides for us, we can blossom and thrive. We can show his love, compassion, glory and life.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 to put God’s kingdom first. It does not provide the answer to every problem, but it does eliminate many possible answers. If the answer does not further God’s kingdom and reflect his righteousness, then it does not need to be considered any further.  

When we worry, it is a sign of an unhealthy relationship with God. It shows that we value material goods more than we value our heavenly Father. We need to see him as a loving father who may allow us to experience life’s difficulties but who always takes care of our needs. Relying on God to provide for our needs flies in the face of the world’s emphasis on acquiring material goods and wealth instead of spiritual wealth. When we choose God’s agenda instead of the world’s agenda, God will richly bless us. When we work and let God worry about the outcome, we can relax. Instead of worrying, we need to choose faith, and the only way to increase our faith is to start praying. When we put God first, we will find the proper balance in our lives because God will provide for our needs.

In order for God to provide for us, we have to work. Some people have taken the fact that God will provide for their needs as an excuse not to work or plan for their future We DO have to plan for our future, especially if we want God to look after us. If God looks after us, and if we do our part, things will take care of themselves, but we have to produce. We can’t be idle or dependent on others. God might not endorse all of our plans or open all the doors we want opened, but God will open the right doors at the right time. God will care for us in good times and bad,

If God is first in our giving, he has our hearts. If he has our hearts, he will guide us and meet our needs. If we are holding on to something that is keeping us from following God’s will for our lives, we have to let go of that something. As long as we believe that all that we have is ours, we will struggle with feelings of selfishness. Once we understand that all we have belongs to God and that he is letting us use them for a while, our viewpoint changes.

Anyone can give thanks when the pasture is filled, the fields are beautiful, the orchard is loaded, the barn is bursting, the work is fulfilling and their health is good. But let’s see people praise God when the crops have failed, the rain did not come, the herd has died, the trees did not produce, the job they have worked at for years disappears because the company shuts down, or when the doctor tells them that they have only a few months to live.

As we ask God to take away anything that worries us-a test, a medical finding, job insecurity-he wants us to give him thanks. This might mean that we have to reflect on similar situations in our past when we faced similar circumstances and God came through. In the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we are to give God thanks and praise in the midst of everything that comes our way. That goes against our human inclination to complain when things go against us, but that is the very wisdom of God. 

Thanksgiving is more than just a day. It is a lifestyle. It is more about our attitude than it is about platitudes; about the virtue of giving thanks for all that we have received from God. It is an attitude of gratitude for everything God has provided for us because we have faith in him.

Bibliography

  1. Charles R. Swindoll, “Tightwads”. Retrieved from eministries@insightforliving.ca
  2. Alan Smith, “It’s mine”. Retrieved from thought-for-the-day@hub.xc.org.
  3. Stanley, C.F., The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, NASB (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2009)
  4. John North, “Time With God: Matthew 6:25-27, 31-34” retrieved from Christianity.com@crosswalkmail.com
  5. “He Knows Our Need”. Retrieved from ChristianVoices@att.net
  6. Matthew Henry Concise Commentary. Part of Lessonmaker 8 Bible software package.
  7. ESV Study Bible. Part of Lessonmaker 8 Bible software package.
  8. Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Part of Lessonmaker 8 Bible software package
  9. Dr. Lawrence Wilkes, “Guidelines for Success-Serve Him”. retrieved from www.hourofpower.org/print/index.phpo?contendid=7579
  10. Joel & Victoria Osteen, “Refuse to Worry”. Retrieved from no-reply@joelosteen.com
  11. Michael Youssef, PhD, “Daily Living Faith”. Retrieved from mydevotional@leadingtheway.org
  12. Gerrit J. Bomhof, “Flowers”. Retrieved from today@thisistoday.net
  13. Pastor Bob Coy, “Warned Against Worry”. Retrieved from www.activeword.org
  14. Doug Fields, “God Works”. Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
  15. Pastor Ken Klaus, “Worry”. Retrieved from lhmlists@lhm.org
  16. Pastor Greg Laurie, “Where We Put God First”. Retrieved from Crossalks@crosswalkmail.com
  17. Exegesis for Matthew 6:25-33. Retrieved from www.sermonwriter.com
  18. Bayless Conley, “When God Has Our Hearts’. Retrieved from Christianity.com@crosswalkmail.com
  19. Dick Inness, “Giving to Gain”. Retrieved from www.actsweb.org
  20. The Rev. Billy D. Strayhorn, “Gratitude Not Platitudes”. Retrieved from www.sermonwriter.com
  21. Pastor Joe McKeever, “Top Ten Thanksgiving Texts”. Retrieved from http://joemckeever.com/wp/top-ten-thanksgiving-texts.

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