Stop Stressing! Definitely easier to say than to do, right? We all have stressful things to deal with in life but some handle the stress better than others. We, as Christians, should be the very best at handling stress. That's not always the case though. If we are not careful the church can be one of the most stressful places around.
In the tenth chapter of Deuteronomy God gave us a wonderful "stress reducing" nugget. This passage of scripture contains two very important thoughts that, if understood and applied, could literally lift the weight of the world from our shoulders.
"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires you to fear him, to live according to his will, to love and worship him with all your heart and soul, and to obey the LORD's commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good. The highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the LORD your God." (Deuteronomy 10:12-14)
First, God asks and answers the question that keeps many people stressed out. What is expected of me? Unfortunately, a lot of people go through life trying to please God without ever asking God what He wants? How can we ever please God if we don't know what God expects? So, what does God want from us? He wants us to respect, submit, love, and obey. While pleasing God is no small task, it really isn't all that complicated. I think sometimes we "stress out" about things that really don't matter to God.
God then reminds us that everything belongs to Him. He owns it all! We are stewards (managers) of many things, but owners of nothing. It's all His! True, it is no small responsibilty to manage the things God entrust to us, but don't forget that He does 'trust' us. God would never give us more than we are capable of handling. God knows everything! He knows our gifts and abilities because He is the one who gave them to us, and He knows exactly what we are capable of. The amazing thing about stewardship is that while we take responsibility, God is the one who takes the risk. Remember, it's all His!
I have to remind myself of this stewardship vs. ownership principle often. All of my work revolves around taking care of God's things, not mine. I'm sure I'm not alone and we probably stress over some of the same things. Here's a few things that can get us stressed out if we're not careful.
PEOPLE: "Peter asked Jesus, "What about him, Lord?" Jesus replied, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me." (John 21:21-22) Quit stressing about what OTHERS do or don't do! Let God worry about that. We have enough to do without worrying about our brothers and sisters.
MONEY: Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33) Our God will bless us and provide for us far better than we could ever do for ourselves. Quit stressing! Remember, Dad owns it all!
PREACHERS (Yes, They stress me out sometimes too!): Who are you to condemn God's servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord's power will help them do as they should. (Romans 14:4) God has called me to American Canyon. He called me to feed His sheep here, not throw rocks at the shepherd down the street. I hate preacher politics, and I suspect God does too.
THE CHURCH: "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) I just do what God tells me to do and trust Him to build His church. I TRY not to take things personally, it's not MY church, it's HIS.
CHILDREN: Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it. (Proverbs 22:6) My children belong to God! He has trusted me to take care of them, to nurture and admonish them.
The list could go on! I'm sure you get the point though. EVERYTHING! It all belongs to God! I take these responsibilities seriously, but ultimately they are God's things! Think about it! We talk about God's Church, God's Man, God's People, God's Kingdom, God's Money. They are all His and He will always take care of His things. So maybe we can quit stressing so much.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. (1 Peter 5:7)