01182023 – Matthew 6. 25-34

I grew up in a different era, one of long ago.

Not everybody got picked.

Not everyone was a star.

Not everyone could throw like Paul Hornung…the “Golden Boy.”

Not everyone could be first in the class.

Not everybody received a trophy. Sometimes you struck out.

You did stuff for others.

You helped your neighbor pick their strawberries. And no one had to tell you to do it.

You cut your neighbors’ grass.

No one expected thanks …or money…

You did it because you wanted to…

You were outside. It was fun.

And the water out of the hose was really, really good and cold if you let it run.

We didn’t worry about what we ate or how we dressed or even how we looked.

What we had on the table, we were supposed to be thankful for…

Including the peas…

Or grandma’s food fried in pure lard or bacon grease, which she always saved and reused, again and again.

We were not in love with the mirror.

There were no “selfies” for posting…

You tried your best, that’s all anybody expected…that’s all that mattered.

You didn’t judge others and hand-me-downs were to be expected.

Holes in the knees eventually got patched.

Socks would be darned.

You didn’t have to say “NO worries!” because people didn’t, it was “what it was.”

You didn’t say PERFECT after every statement, because everyone knew life was far from perfect. And never would be.

It seemed like we played hard. And slept well. We used our imaginations a lot. We kind of made things up as we went along.

We coped. We got through things. We made it. We were stronger for it.

And, we had faith. A lot of faith. God was watching over us. And he was with us.

People didn’t seem to get too excited over things…

There were fights, and there were feuds, but you were the best of friends the very next day. That’s how it was supposed to work.

Back in my day. Everyone went to church. And there was always someone in the neighborhood – who would wonder and ask, why you didn’t go. We even knew who went to what church, but none of that mattered. We all went.

In my family, we had folks who were Salvation Army, Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, Missouri Synod Lutherans, United Lutherans, Catholics, and Baptists, and we all got along just fine.

You didn’t talk politics or church. You just talked.

Mr. Johnson, in Sunday School, was the Superintendent and he always wore a white long-sleeved shirt and tie,  he told us to never worry. “It is silly to worry,” he said.  “It gets you nowhere.”

He took us all outside for Sunday School. Kind of like a field trip. But we never left the church property.

We sat on the ground, “Indian style.” (because you could say that, then.)

We were supposed to look for weeds, grass, flowers, and birds. It was all very visual. Then old Mr. Johnson asked, “why do folks worry?”

So, we talked a little bit about mortgage payments and auto payments and the high cost of practically everything…

A new home was $10,000. A new Ford vehicle was around $2,000 – $4,000. Milk was $1.01 and that was delivered to your back doorstep, bread was 19 cents a loaf, stamps were 4 cents and gas was all the way up to 24 cents a gallon. It was a good thing you didn’t have to drive very far. “Why worry,” he asked us again.

You know the cost of celery was 4 cents a pound. Who cares if it goes up to a nickel?

Then he said, look at those weeds, they sure do grow, don’t they? And look at all that grass. Did you see the flowers over there? Who takes care of all this stuff?

And over there, do you see those birds up in that tree?

Do the birds have enough to eat?

Do they look like they are starving?

And what about the weeds, and the grass, and those flowers? Are they starving?

They all get fed, don’t they?

They have everything they need.

They are not hurting for anything.

You do know that it is God who takes care of all of them, don’t you?

Go figure, he said. Those birds do not work a job, and yet they are fed.

Those flowers and weeds and grass, don’t last forever, but they sure look good when they are growing.

And you do know, who it is that takes care of them.

IF GOD is that concerned about birds and flowers, and weeds and grass – HOW MUCH MORE WILL HE BE ABOUT TAKING CARE OF US?

What do you think? Will God take care of our basic needs or won’t he?

Mr. Johnson said God even knows what we need BEFORE the need arises.

Worrying isn’t going to help at all.

We can not change any situation by worrying about it.

Worrying will not change anything.

Oftentimes, he said, worrying only makes the situation worse.

Mr. Johnson said some people get sick from worry.

Some people get irritable and short-tempered because they worry so much.

Some people have a hard time thinking clearly because they are too busy worrying all the time.

He said, but as for you…I don’t want you young folks to worry about anything.

Trust God.

Listen to God.

Obey God.

Pray to God…

And instead of all that “useless worry” try thinking about Eternal Life, and life with God forever. Life with those we love.

Life, not worry.

Don’t worry about tomorrow.

Tomorrow may never come.

Focus on today.

Focus on right now.

Focus on where you are…and WHO you are with. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy now. Enjoy today. Enjoy this time together.

And, be thankful for what you have.

Ah, to return to those days…

And to be able to live our lives like that, again.