12 Sep 2021
Be not therefore anxious for the morrow:
For the morrow will be anxious for itself.
St. Matt 6:34
These are anxious times. The news these days is filled with the problems with COVID, Afghanistan, civil unrest, rising gas prices, terrible hurricanes, nations in conflict and suspicion, and violence in general. Families too are rife with violence. In the workplace, there is also an increase in violence and stress-induced anger and resentment. The desire for what money can get has encouraged people to steal and deceive and put their interests before all others. But there is really nothing new about any of this. Jesus in the Gospel today let’s us know that, despite what the news may tell us or what people around us may act like, God has not changed His priorities. We are still most precious in His eyes, and He is constantly looking after us in ways we can scarcely imagine.
Have you ever had to divide your time between conflicting interests? It’s a nasty situation when one role—say that of being a parent—and another—say a job--have conflicting demands. Which of your roles gets your time may depend on exactly what your priorities are and which task is more important to you. The same thing is true in our relationship with God. When you see that there is a time for personal pleasures or for prayer, can you stop what you’re doing and go in God’s direction? God sees what you decide and knows just how important your decision is. Do you?
The truth is that when you fasten onto things in this world as your own, you inherit the anxiety that goes with it. Think of owning a car or a house. But God knows what you need. You can only see one or two steps in front of you, but He can see the whole path before you. Life is really like a long walk in what often seems a wilderness like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Early on, we start by making our choice of pathways leading from the home of our parents. Each fork in the road or person we meet is a decision place. Unfortunately, most of us have no real map but just some clues. Sometimes, we are very uncertain, yes anxious, that this isn’t a very good road we’ve selected. Who will show us the way? This road, we start to think, may not be a good one or a safe one. And that’s why we need to let God direct us. For you see, God knows the beginning and the end of every pathway. He loves you so much that He will warn you that this path isn’t the right one. He will point the way at those important forks in the road when you must decide and decide wisely.
But how do you know what God wants you to do? In the wonderful Medieval story Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, the hero knight learns that there is only one way to let God point the way: he lets go of the reins of his mount, his own willfulness, and God leads him to the sacred castle. We must likewise learn to let go of the reins in our lives especially at the critical crossroads and, through prayer for His guidance, be content to walk with God.
We also need to recognize our personal plans may end up cast aside if the Lord needs us on yet another pathway. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” The kingdom of heaven, to which we owe our first allegiance, will be ours when the path God has directed us brings us to His gates.
The mastery of this life is almost impossible if we let fear of tomorrow’s problems overwhelm us. God had a purpose when He divided our life into days and nights. It works well that we draw a curtain on a day before we begin the challenges of another. Bedtime is the perfect time to thank God for his gifts and the strength He has blessed us with. Take the time tonight, to show your thankfulness to God and to ask for his direction. Christ says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.” Christ was fully committed to God and thus lived free from all fear. We should do our best to do likewise. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Bishop Edwin Tompkins