Teaching Acts in Prison: Part 4, A Community Where Worry Becomes Irrelevant

At this point in my lesson on Acts out at the prison, pointing to the establishment of the kingdom in Acts 2 and 4, I stopped and circled back to something Jesus says in the gospels.

Specifically, the week before Jana and I were at church and heard a teaching about Jesus' admonition about worry from the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 6.25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
As we drove away from church Jana shared with me how this teaching of Jesus has always made her feel guilty. Because Jana is a worrier. And being a worrier she always feels that she's not following Jesus' teaching here in Matthew 6. And a lot of us, I'm guessing, feel the same way. We worry. A lot. All the time. About a lot of stuff. And so, when we hear this text, we feel guilty, like we are letting Jesus down.

What I shared with Jana was this. The point of this passage isn't about worry, it's about the kingdom. That's the big point of what Jesus saying: "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

But what does that mean?

This is the big point I was making in yesterday's post, how Acts 2 and 4 present us with the culmination of the Biblical narrative, with a vision of God's kingdom being established on earth. Recall from yesterday's post the vision of the kingdom: "No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had...there were no needy persons among them."

Here in Acts 2 and 4, I would argue, we see the point that Jesus was making in the Sermon on the Mount. We don't have to worry about food or clothing because when we seek the kingdom, when we create communities like those in Acts 2 and 4, "all these things will be given to you." That's exactly what we see in Acts 2 and 4, the fulfillment of Jesus' kingdom vision: the Sermon on the Mount ruling the people of God on earth as it is in heaven.

So the point, I told Jana and the inmates, is this. The command of Jesus isn't "Don't worry" but "Seek first the kingdom." Because when the kingdom comes, when there is no needy person among us, worry evaporates.

Jesus' command in the Sermon the the Mount is for us create a community where worry becomes irrelevant.

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