I have been reading Luke 12:22-34 every day since last Thursday. In the book, Running Scared, by Ed Welch, he discusses that God is generous. He refers to verse 32 to remind the reader that God is so generous that he gives his children the Kingdom. When we are tempted to indulge in worry, we must turn our minds back to who God is, and he is a generous God.
In this passage, Jesus says this:
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.
There is a parallel passage in Matthew 6:19-21:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Too much worry and anxiety is a sure-fire prevention against laying up treasures in heaven. We all have worries, but when we indulge in them, they push out any thoughts that might be of eternal value. We stop thinking about God's goodness, and we become too focused on our situation. We don't have the peace that can be ours because we are too busy indulging in our worry.
I've often thought of those verses as addressing the laying up of earthly treasures, such as material gain, or power and influence. But they are applicable to the every day situations we find ourselves in. When we are concerned about something, it's hard to stop thinking about it. If you are someone (like me) who is impatient and wants to do something about a situation, it's even harder. Suddenly, we become like a dog with a bone, pawing at the matter, turning it over, evaluating it, and we can't leave it alone. That prevents the daily habit of laying up treasures in heaven, such as loving others, being patient, being joyful, being faithful. It is definitely not fostering self-control to replay things over and over in our heads. I am far too often guilty of that, and it wasn't until recently that I have seen how worry can interfere with this call to lay up treasures in heaven. When there is too much worry in our minds, it pushes out the thoughts that are good. Obsessing about our worries pushes out the truths about God, and that's what we need to address our worries. It starts with knowing God.
Spending too much time rolling over in our minds the various worries we have is not only bad for the here and now, because it can render us ineffective in many ways, but it's also deterimental for the future, for how we lay up treasures in heaven. I'm not saying it's easy to put aside worry and anxiety, but knowing how it can adversely affect us is part of coping with it.