The Right Kind of Preoccupation

To read

Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:31–33).

To consider

Anxiety has a way of plaguing our lives—worries about the children, our health, our job, our finances, and our future. Some medical doctors have even estimated that over twenty-five percent of their patient load is what they call “the worry well.” Doctors spend a considerable chunk of their time examining people who are not sick; they’re only worried.

For a Christian, there is a tremendous source of comfort when faced with worry. We can take anything that is on our shoulders and, through prayer, push it onto His—knowing His shoulders are so much bigger than ours. We are told in Scripture that upon doing so, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).

But this paragraph also has an interesting remedy to worry. Christ speaks in terms of physical needs—food, water, and clothing—and then says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

His advice is simple and direct. If we concern ourselves with His business, He concerns Himself with ours. In essence, He is saying, “If you are going to worry, worry about having a consistent prayer life, or spending time in the Word, or introducing a neighbor to Christ. And if you concern yourself with My business, I’ll concern Myself with yours.” Be preoccupied with the right thing.

To illustrate

Queen Elizabeth I once asked a servant of hers if he’d go on a matter of foreign business for her. Although he expressed a desire to please her, he also expressed concern about matters at home that would be left unattended.

She promptly replied, “You take care of my business, I’ll take care of yours.”

God does not expect us to neglect our family, job, or financial matters. He also does not want unnecessary anxiety in those areas to prevent us from taking the time to introduce lost acquaintances to Christ.

To meditate

When it comes to anxiety, are you following the example of others or setting the example for others to follow? Can others see His concerns by observing yours?

To pray

Ask God to give you a proper concern about physical matters that relate to your home, family, and job. But ask Him to keep you from an anxious concern about day-to-day necessities that keep you from having the time and interest to be used by Him in populating heaven.