I saw an article recently entitled, “The Top 5 Things People Worry About And How To Solve Them.” In the article, Sean Clarke describes the list as work, money, health, what others think, and the past. The first three sounded common, but I was intrigued by the last two answers. The list is pretty self-centered without any reference to caring about others.
In 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, Paul lists a number of items that would cause just about everyone some worry, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” Paul had a reason for concern. He was constantly on the edge of death. He never knew what the storyline would be for the next chapter of his life.
However, verse 28 is where he caught my attention, “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” Paul’s problem was not about physical harm; it was his concern for the church. Paul experienced “anxiety” over the church. Was it possible for him to be too concerned about his people, the church?
Instead of an article about the top five things people worry about, how about writing out your top five prayer requests. Family, health, work, and finances might head up the list, but where do the church and your fellow brothers and sisters fit in your prayer time. Are you concerned about the church? Does the “anxiety” take you to your knees in prayer?
It has been said, “Worry is like a good rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” In Philippians 4:6, Paul starts the verse by saying, “Do not be anxious about anything.”Paul tells us not to be anxious, but he speaks of his own “anxiety” in 2 Corinthians chapter 11. The key is the last half of the verse, “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
The key to handling worry and anxiety is to give it to God. We will have concerns of all sorts and hopefully one of those is the church. Therefore, it should drive us to prayer. Please pray for the church. Pray for the elders to follow God so close it is easy to lead the flock. Pray for your brothers and sisters, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
Pray for each other to grow in love, wisdom, and the ways of God.