I have found that Mondays are often…well…let’s just say “interesting” for a pastor. Generally, there are plenty of loose ends to tie up from Sunday services. And then, there are typically new needs that have been brought to my attention during my church family’s time together. And finally, there’s the regular realization that another Sunday is less than a week away, which means that a lot of things need to start getting figured out — and the sooner the better!
This particular Monday, however, brings a few extra stresses. Regular readers of this blog will know that my mother had hip-replacement surgery late last week. Thankfully, the procedure went fine. However, there were some challenges getting my mother’s post-surgical pain regulated. And as a result, she won’t be headed home until later today; and I’ll be headed up to see her tomorrow so that I can tend to her needs for a few days while my brother is out of town.
The result of all this is that it becomes awfully easy to worry: to wonder how it’s all going to get done…to ponder the unexpected developments that might arise to complicate matters further…and to question whether I’ve got the patience and creativity to accomplish what’s necessary in the spirit with which it ought to be handled.
Let me rush to say, of course, that I’m not saying any of this in order to elicit feelings of pity. I recognize that I’ve got things pretty good, and there are plenty of people in my own congregation who carry burdens much heavier than these on a regular basis. But it does allow me to highlight what a gift it is to be offered a passage in today’s Daily Office, which — though familiar — speaks directly to the need of the moment. In Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus says:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:25-27; 31-33
I don’t know what worries you might be dealing with this Monday morning. But the LORD speaks to you and to me and says, “I’ve got this. Your worries are neither necessary nor helpful. So — to borrow Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the verses above — “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions…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.”
Thanks, I needed that.