Worrying is part of what it means to be human.
I am not sure that any of us can say that we don’t from time to time worry about something.
We are aware of the passing of one day and the next, of week to week and season to season.
We also know that things change and so there is plenty of scope for worrying about tomorrow.
Will my test results be ok?
Will my boss at work accept my proposals?
Will my child be safe?
Will I keep my job?
Will we make the mortgage payment?
You can write your own list of things you might worry about.
Of course this reading is a harvest reading because our farmers have plenty of things to worry about too.
When and where to plant?
Will it grow?
When to harvest?
Will there be enough?
What will the weather do?
Worrying about livestock and disease and the price at the market.
Will there be enough food is not usually one of the things we worry about.
Probably most of us in this room have seldom been poor enough to worry about where our next meal will come from. But for the people Jesus was talking to, many of them would have known that worry.
Not just because they were poor, but because there was also an uncertain food supply.
All of those people Jesus was talking to would know stories of famine, when there was just not enough food in the land to feed the people.
In the face of these worries, some of ours are put in their place!
And yet, when I hear stories from people returning from lands where there is very little and lots of poverty and the worry about enough food is very real, there are almost without exception stories of enormous generosity and huge gratitude. Stories of people giving thanks to God for what little they have and then sharing it with those who have much.
When I speak to people who tell these stories of their travels in developing countries, they also talk about how humbling these encounters were, how embarrassed they felt about how much they have and how petty their worries become in the face of such poverty.
I don’t want us to end up feeling bad for what we have and the culture that we live in; that is not the point here.
Rather it is to notice how such people deal with their poverty.
Part of coping with such poverty is to be thankful for what they have. Be that food, possession or relationship.
In our increasingly disposable culture, with the prowling desire to upgrade, it might be a good coping strategy for us too: to focus on being thankful for what we have.
Jesus encourages us to give thanks in every place and time.
Being thankful for what you have when you have so little might seem appropriate, being thankful when we have so much is probably wise. But that is the easy part.
Even in the face of poverty there is enormous sharing.
It is very common to hear stories from those visiting developing countries about how much was given to them, how their portion was larger, how out of a family’s poverty came enormous hospitality. Sharing what we have puts it in the right place: that our relationships, our friendships are more important than what we own.
It seems fairly unrealistic of Jesus to say, don’t worry.
Worrying is something we do.
But we can manage our worrying by being thankful for what we have and sharing it with others.
There is something about Harvest time that captures this.
Hear we are giving thanks for what we have and sharing a little of that.
Harvest is a great time for this. But it is just a start.
The challenge of being a follower of Jesus is to be thankful in all places and at all times.
To give as much as you have got and then give more.
The challenge of following Jesus is to get to a place where our thankfulness begins to displace our worry.
But here we are baptised into the body of Christ, filled with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and gives life to all creation.
Here we are with our names in the book of life and I wonder what there is to worry about.