“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“At present the whole world, including the wealthiest of nations, lies deep in worries and cares. But within the society and organism that proceeds from Christ, worries can and should cease. There we should care for one another.” – Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
How are we to set aside our worries?
How can we say to someone, “Don’t worry, just believe!” when they are alone and nobody cares for them, when they are bullied or nobody wants anything to do with them, when a person is excluded from everything that gives dignity to life, when all they can do is to earn their living with much worrying?
When Paul says in his letter to the Philippians “Do not worry”, he takes it for granted that these are people who are united by a band of solidarity, that they share what they have together and help one another out. Only within a circle of love where each one is responsible for the other, can we live free from anxiety and worry. This kind of community is Paul’s support and joy. When this supportive community does not work, it is Paul’s bane – and ours too.
Prayer of Response
“God of heaven and earth, help me relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so I can respond to your giving.” – Mt 6:32 (MSG)
Questions to Ponder
- Consider Jesus’ teaching about worrying in Matthew 6:19-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry…what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all you need for life will be given to you as well.”How does worrying limit the freedom to share your life with the people God has placed around you?
- The allegory of the long spoons illustrates the difference between heaven and hell. In each location the inhabitants are pictured around a table laid with food. The only way to eat in both places is by using long spoons. In hell, the people are preoccupied with their own wellbeing. Attempting the impossible task of bringing the long spoon to their mouths, they starve. In heaven, the diners are not worried about missing out. They feed one another across the table and are filled. What can you learn from this allegory about the worry-free society of men and women that make up the kingdom of God?
- Take in Mt 6:34 and soak in it: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (MSG) How does this verse help you to “make your requests be known to God in everything with thanksgiving through prayer and supplication?”
—Submitted by Gudrun Reeves
Having grown up in Austria, Gudrun moved from one end of the Alps to the other when she started working at the Christian retreat Center, Champfleuri, near Grenoble 20 years ago. At the center, the blessings and the challenges of creating a Christ-centered community are a part of daily life.