Worry and Idolatry

(re-posted from squintforgod.com)

What do you worry about?

Everybody worries. That’s pretty much a given for most of us. At least it is for me, and I’m the person I know best.

But what becomes fascinating is to begin to explore just what we worry about. I probably worry about things that wouldn’t bother you, and you’re likely to stress over things that I could handle without any trouble. I could handle moving my family cross-country for my ministry…twice. And turning 50 didn’t really rattle me at all last year. But heading into a meeting without knowing that I have the handouts I’ll be need can undo me on some days.

At New Life Church we’re spending a few weeks reflecting on the Jesus’ deceptively simple command to give up our worries about material needs. “Do not worry…” he says. It gets worse: he tells us not to worry about money. Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink, or how you’ll repair that car or pay for your retirement.

Here’s the thing: worry is a marker that can identify the things in life that we figure we need to be in charge of. For instance, there are things in my life that I’ve pretty much accepted as being God’s business. Ministry directions or the health of my family are things that I consider to be in God’s hands, and so consequently I don’t usually worry about those things very much. On the other hand, I somehow figure that those handouts or other details all me, and I’m afraid I’ll might drop the ball somehow. And so I worry about those things.

So what does it mean if we worry about financial matters? It probably means that we figure our money—and the needs that it can meet—are something that we’re in charge of. That that’s our business, and it’s a business that we can’t afford to screw up. And so we worry abour money.
There’s a word that: idolatry. Idolatry is when we allow someone or something to God’s place in our world.

And the only antidote for idolatry is worship: surrendering our worry before God as an offering. That’s why we put money in offering baskets in the middle of worship services.

What about you—what do you worry about? And what would it take for you to give that worry to him as an act of worship?