Choosing Concern Over Worry

Do you typically respond to challenging situations with concern or worry? The world has taught us that these two approaches are one in the same, but in fact they are vastly different. Being worried is not beneficial to problem solving. In the New Testament, the Greek word for worry is merimna, which means to separate, or divide a person’s being into parts.[i] Worry distracts people from God because it causes them to fixate on their struggles. However, when people have concern, they are more likely to maintain a peaceful attitude while working toward a physical solution. Despite struggling, their true focus remains on God.

            Matthew 14:22-33 recounts the famous story of Peter walking on the water. Notice how the wind is mentioned throughout the story. (Matthew 14:24, 30, and 32). For the disciples, the wind had been a prevalent obstacle before Jesus even got near their boat. Then, while walking on the water to Jesus, Peter only begins to sink when he focuses on the wind instead. The Bible doesn’t say if Peter walks back to the boat alongside Jesus, or if he is carried by Him. The author only records that the wind stopped once they got back into the boat. All God’s children have the choice of whether, or not they will get caught up in needless worry and fear like Peter. The wind and stormy seas will be there regardless of focus, but so is Jesus. He is always there to guide His followers to calmer waters, but He can only do so if the focus truly remains on Him.

            Luke 10:38-42 tells the story of Jesus teaching in Martha’s home. While He was speaking, Martha got distracted with the desire to serve everyone while her sister, Mary, intently listened to Jesus’ words. Martha went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” He replied, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Martha wanting to serve her guests was good, but it became sinful when she let it distract her from Jesus’ teachings.

             God wants His children to grow in their relationship with Him by listening, communicating, and obeying His commands. Choosing to face a challenge side by side with Christ Jesus is preferable to being consumed by difficulties. God provides for all His creation in this moment and will continue to do so in the future because He has in the past. Managing worry begins with the choice to focus on knowing God and realizing that you are His beloved child.


[i] In English, the word worry replaced the Old English term, “wyrgan” which means to strangle


By: Forrest Theiss 08/23/2022