Margins 4.0

Besides our limitations of energy, resources, and knowledge, we also must explore the margin of anxiety. Where does genuine concern leave off and worry begin?

On the one hand, God commends and even commands our stewardship of life. We are made, as we have seen, to be problem-solvers who take care of business. On the other hand, we do not actually own the world, and ultimately there is very, very little under our control. For many, this is a problem.

We know this because Jesus Himself (Matthew 6:25–27, ESV) warns against worry. After explaining that life is a choice between worshiping money or the Lord, He concludes. . .

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

So Jesus gives us three reasons not to worry about stuff. First, life is more than food and clothes. Second, God is our Father, and takes far better care of us than He does the sparrows. Finally, anxiety accomplishes nothing. On the contrary, it depletes us by distracting us from enjoying our present moments and short circuits our trust in God’s faithfulness and loving care.

It’s easy to be confused on this issue. There are times for intense prayer, godly sorrow, and high attention and concentration. Still, we must not obsess or give ourselves over to worry, especially in things over which we have little or no control (weather, circumstances, attitudes of others, politics).

So what can keep us from transgressing the boundary of anxiety? The spiritually healthy answer is found neither in stoic hardness nor frivolous distraction, but rather a firm faith in the providence of God. Because we know Him, we can live care-free lives, living to care for others simply because He cares for us.

Don’t forget to allow for the margins!

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