Don’t sweat the small stuff

Years ago, I bought a book called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff which urged readers not to stress out about unimportant things.

At the time, I was working under a lot of pressure with a good deal of overtime.  I followed some of the practical suggestions in the book by Richard Carlson and found them helpful.

But Carlson wasn’t original.  The basic ideas go back to Jesus Christ.

I admit that I put a lot of pressure on myself – needlessly.  Many of the things that bulk large in my mind today will be forgotten next month.

Jesus had plenty to bother him.  He was under constant attack from religious leaders.  He was on display every day as crowds came to hear him and seek healing.  He had little time to himself.

But in Matthew 6, he says that we shouldn’t worry about everyday things such as food and drink and clothes to wear.  “Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?”

Jesus’ words came just after he called on his listeners not to store up treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy.  Instead, he urged us to “store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal”.

His point is clear: Focus on what is really important rather than on the trials, temptations, and sorrows of earth.  What is really important is pleasing God.

He urged his listeners to have faith that God will provide us with what we need.

“So, don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

In other words, don’t sweat these things.

Is Jesus saying we should stop working and let God take care of us?  No, he isn’t.  But he is saying that God is working in us and in our lives and he will take us through whatever troubles we may face.

Worries, Jesus says, won’t add a single moment to our lives.

I often think of the words Minnie Louise Haskins wrote a century ago:

“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
Give me a light
That I may tread safely into the Unknown.
And he replied
Go out into the Darkness
And put your hand into the Hand of God
That shall be to you
Better than light
And safer than the known way.”

Great advice.

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