“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”Luke 12:25–26, NIV
Worry is something that is hard for us not to do. Jesus wants to help. Read what he says in the Bible about worry and be comforted. Let’s look closely at a Bible verse in which Jesus teaches his disciples about worry.
Let’s use the AROMA Approach (from my book, The AROMA Approach to Bible Study) to study this passage.
- Arrange- determine the structure of the passage
- Read- several times in different translations
- Orient- understand the context
- Meditate- spend time engaging
- Agree- pray about what God showed you
–Greater certainty- “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
–Lesser certainty -Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
Jesus again argues from the greater to the lesser. Logic defines this method as a fortiori , a Latin word that means “from the stronger” or “from the more certain”. As he seeks to convince his disciples that they should not worry, a fact they were likely not convinced of, Jesus, a master of logic, first confronts them with a more certain truth.
In the a fortiori system of logic, one makes an argument about one fact based on the certainty of another. In this case, Jesus states the easily seen and well-known fact that his listeners can not “add a single hour” to their lives. So if this fact is true, how much more is it true that you should not worry about anything else in life.
Jesus combines his greater to the lesser argument with a rhetorical question. The question is designed to cause the hearers to stop and think and consider information in a new way. “Wow! I never thought of it that way. If worrying can’t even add one hour to my life why should I worry about other things?”, we can imagine the disciples thinking. Today as we read our Bibles we are confronted with the same question and the same opportunity to change our thinking about worry.
These verses find us still traveling with Jesus as he set his face to go to Jerusalem, teaching his disciples along the way. Jesus knows what is ahead and knows his disciples will tend to worry. Jesus needed to teach them not to worry in a way that would be memorable.
Why do we worry? It’s irrational, isn’t it? We know that worrying can’t change or help anything, yet we do it. Jesus addresses the futility of our worry with what seems like a mundane example. If we can not add even one hour to our lives by worrying, why do we think we can change the course of a pandemic by worrying about it? God is the one who created us and ordained the amount of time we live. The amount of time we live is ultimately in his hands. This God will also keep us and provide for us in every way.
Consider some reasons why we worry:
- We don’t fully trust God with our lives.
- We want to feel in control.
- We find comfort in it.
- It’s a habit we don’t realize how much we are in bondage to it
- We are used to it. For some of us, worry is a like a long-time friend who always drags us down or a tattered, old blanket that no longer keeps us warm. It’s hard to give it up.
Jesus challenges us to give up worry. Not only does it accomplish nothing, it is not good for us. It is paralyzing and distracting from the truth. The truth is, in times of worry, we need to put ourselves in the arms of Jesus and trust him to carry us through any challenges we face. Admitting the uselessness of worry frees us to admit the power of God to get us through every trial we face.
Every time you find yourself worrying, think about God’s promises and power instead. Repeat several times a day or an hour if you need to.
Lord, free me from the bondage of worry. Help me to put my faith and trust in you and you alone. You are the God who created the universe and rules over the earth. I praise you, Lord, for your power and majesty. Thank you for loving me and caring for me.