This man was very involved in his spiritual community as well. In fact, he was a leader. When "Brother ... " was mentioned heads nodded in agreement that he was indeed a good and righteous man. He taught classes, he would regularly take part in the public assemblies, and anytime a brother needed advice or assistance on a project this good man was ready to help. He offered wise and sensible counsel and was capable of helping on almost every project that came along.
This was a good family man. He loved his wife and they had three very handsome and fine sons who married three very pretty and fine young ladies. They all had children who of course were very fine and beautiful children. As you would expect this man was a wonderful grandfather and his daughters-in-law loved him as if he were their own father.
From all outward appearances this man was a really good man, he was respected in the community, admired by his fellow church members, and loved by his family. He was a very good man.
What no one knew, other than this man and God, is that he had a problem. Not a bad problem. In fact, some, if not all, would not consider it a problem at all. Although the problem was real it is often excused because after all, "We are only human. It's just being responsible and a good steward." You see this man was a worrier.
He worried about everything. He worried about his business. He worried about his church. He worried about his family. He worried about how the ups and downs of the economy would affect his business, his family, and his church. He worried about how worrying about his business might affect his family and his church. He worried about how worrying might affect his health. He worried about what would happen to his business, his church and his family if he stopped worrying about them. After all, he was the only one who really cared about his business, his church, and his family. He reasoned that if did not worry about his business, his church, and his family, then who would worry about it. He fully believed that worrying about his business, his church, and his family was his responsibility. That is who he was. That is how he functioned.
When others were not around and when no one could see him, he worried. He worried as he drove to work. He worried when he was alone in his office. He worried when he drove to lunch meetings. He worried when he laid down in his bed. He worried when he woke up in the wee hours of the night. He worried when he got up in the morning. He even worried when he closed his eyes to pray. He worried a lot.
Then, he read the words of Jesus. The words of Jesus began to make sense. He heard the preacher say it, but he had to read it for himself. After hearing the sermon he read the words for himself in several different versions.
First, he read Jesus' words from the New International Version:
"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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" (Matthew 6:25 NIV)
"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds" (Matthew 6:25-26 MSG).
But it was in the King James Version where a phrase caught his eye:
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" (Matthew 6:25 KJV).The phrase that caught his eye? This one: "Take no thought ..."
"Wow!" he thought to himself, "Jesus is talking about me. He is telling me to stop worrying. Jesus is telling me that if I am going to follow him, like I want to, I can 'take no thought' about tomorrow, or my food, or my clothes, or about what may or may not happen with my business tomorrow (or next year), or what may happen with my church (over the next five years), or what will happen to my family tomorrow (or next week)."
Jesus' words convicted this man. The words of Jesus changed this man's thinking, and more importantly they changed his heart. He confessed his life-long habit of worrying. He began to turn things over to God ... really turn them over to God. He began to trust God with his business, he began to trust God with his church, and he began to trust God with his family. For the first time in a very long time he enjoyed his drive to and from work, he enjoyed his time alone, he enjoyed sleeping at night, and he enjoyed living one day at a time. He learned to take no thought in tomorrow. And when he did, he learned that he could breathe again.