Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.
‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are we not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
Jesus' words are a gift but not a comfort - hear what Jesus says again - 'don't waste your energy on tomorrow - today is hard enough'.
It's been a long, wearying winter - filled with overcast skies and relentless drives to work, mesmerised by the swish of wipers and the glare of tail-lights. People have seen their homes drowned as rivers defy their margins and stretch out across forgotten flood plains. Uneasy meditations watching the water level rise against sandbag defences and the mourning cries for treasures lying sodden beyond saving. Windblown power lines return communities to the turning of the veiled sun. Fallen trees barricade the byways.
This winter, more than usual, it seems we have rejoined with nature - the lilies have sunk deep in the earth wrapped in ashen gravecloths; tiny wrens bounce through skeletal hedgerows, crows forage in the tatters of autumns fallen leaves. I am amazed at where they get their stamina from. Having cared for injured birds and wild animals in the past - I often wonder how they persevere. But they do - because they know no other way. For many people, not just this year but every year, and sometimes every day - they persevere because there is no other way.
Noone would wish for such misfortune yet the radio this morning was filled with stories of people who had given up jobs and family to help those in need. Stories of neighbourly love and support. Stories of strangers becoming friends. Stories of newly created priorities that recognise the joy of 'now' and the value of relationship over ownership.
Maybe we need troubles to learn this; to remember the priorities that the world cannot provide. Maybe the worries come when we forget we are not the ones in control.
Heading into Lent we join Jesus on a journey of farewells and letting go. His tomorrow will have troubles of it's own. But his Father is with him and Jesus is a man of great faith.