You must be choking.
No I’m not suggesting that your name is Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon this year. (Nice reference to latest events, eh?) I am referring to being choked by the cares of this life. You might recall the Parable of the Sower and Jesus doing us the favour of giving the meaning of the parable. One type of soil allowed the seed to grow, but tragically so did weeds and the effectiveness of that seed was compromised.
I am not against the news, on the contrary, I am grateful for those who go out to provide updates on what is going on locally, nationally and globally. At its best it gives an excellent service to inform us and allow us not to live in ignorance to the plight of others.
What I notice, however, is that if you take on board the news reports and the perspective offered as well as the inherent bias attached to it, then your outlook will be somewhat fearful. Economic unrest, civil unrest, instability here, uncertainty there, former great tennis players losing in the first round, price hikes, murders, tales of scandal and deceit, struggle and strife. In fact whether it’s online, on television, on radio or in print, I cannot think of a single source of news from which you could emerge feeling hopeful about life.
Take this article for instance concerning the genuinely important issue of childcare.
It is left for the editorials or comment sections to give some sort of opinion on these issues. Yet within this article there is enough to alarm anyone who has children or is thinking of having children and are concerned about their financial state. More money to look after children while you work than to pay for the mortgage?!!
No wonder people get into debt. No wonder people get depressed. No wonder people are put off having children or live by the ‘rational’ view of keeping the number of children to one or two. No wonder people get mired in a work-situation that demands all their time and leaves them with little if anything left to love their children, love their spouse and love the Lord with their whole being.
Having said that, and being aware of that it is for those who know God and love Jesus to live in a God-centred way so that things are viewed from that perspective. Rather than being shaped and concerned by the news, we allow the Kingdom to allow us to react to news and see what wisdom God wants us to glean from it.
Like the same nursery article. The concerns and cares that can be triggered from reading it is based on following a way of life as prescribed by the society around you. This way of life does not emphasise being compassionate, being a good wife/husband, a good father/mother, a diligent steward of what God has given you.
This way of life is not content with the basics of life like food and clothes. This way of life insists that to get by you need to get high on the social ladder and that requires you to say that if you have a 2-bedroomed flat today, you must aspire to a 4-bedroomed house. One car today is two cars tomorrow.
Contrasting that with the way of life for the disciple of Christ should highlight the glaring discrepancies. When our values and concerns are rooted and anchored in the truth that God tells us, that which would lead others to being wrapped and trapped in anxiety, is actually springboard for further dependence on God and looking for opportunities to share the peace of Christ with those who suffer.
I don’t write this from a life that is full of all the creature comforts and where I don’t have a care in the world. There are very taxing and trying life circumstances affecting my family even as I write. I won’t lie, sometimes I get worried, but then someone or something reminds me of who I am and whose I am. That assurance allows me to get on with casting my cares on Him and get on with the cares that are on His heart whether that’s with me wife, children or community at large.
I am not there fully yet, but what I see when I look at the destination of being fully content in God is far better than what’s involved in being trapped in the wrapping of anxiety. Hopefully that will also lead to being more fruitful for the One who planted the seed in me in the first place.
Either that or I must be choking.
For His Name’s Sake