“Therefore I tell you, so 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?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do no sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they are?
27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? …
31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them!
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We live in a time of anxiety. The world seems to be changing very quickly, there is information overload, job security is threatened, there are threats of terrorism and war, we have insecure personal relationships, and there is the ever-present pressure to consume more and more. Drought is a concern and there is a drought of compassion. It is not surprising that many people worry and that depression as an illness is increasing.
Australia is a wealthy country and few people starve or go naked. There is more than enough to meet everybody’s need, so why do we worry so much? How come we have so little confidence in the future?
Recent research has shown that people who practise a religion are less likely to suffer from depression. Faith in a loving God seems to provide a sense of meaning and purpose, a sense of where they fit in to the universe, and an inner peace which enables them to live fully in the present. An understanding of God’s priorities for our lives and a real experience of his love through Christ remove the blocks to eternal life beginning now.
And when this life is shared in community, people do look after each other and we do respond to each other’s needs and there is no need to worry. Seek first the kingdom of God and all good things will be given to you.
Peter Sanders is a Uniting Church Minister. He developed hope springs, a crisis support service for family and friends of people affected by mental illness.