Sermon by Gail Fricker for Parkview United Church, Sunday, March 3, 2013, Sermon Topic: “What If…”


Sermon by Gail Fricker, Sunday Mar 3, 2013: Sermon Topic: What If ……

*Scripture: Mathew 6: 25-34

(Jeremiah 29: 10-15; Luke 12: 13-21)

The Worrywarts by Pamela Duncan

One warm Wednesday morning, the sun winked through Wombat’s window and woke her up. “What a wonderful day to wander the world,” she thought.

Wombat went to ask Weasel and Woodchuck whether they would go with her. “Where is the world?” asked Weasel. “Past the wishing well, down the pathway, and through the woods,” answered Woodchuck, who was very well-read. So they set to work, wondering what to take with them.

Wombat wanted watercress-on-whole-wheat-bread sandwiches, walnut wafer, waffles with whipped cream, wedges of watermelon, and her walking stick.

Weasel wanted wieners and liverwurst, and his water pistol.

Woodchuck wanted the “W” volume of Webster’s Book of Words, in case they needed to look up information about the “The World.:

But then Wombat began to worry. “WAIT!” she wailed .. “WHAT IF….” ….. we’re walking past the wallflowers and a swam of wasps is waiting? What if they swirl around us and we’ve nothing to swat them with? What if we’re running away and we’re not watching where we’re going and suddenly we’re wading up to our waists in water? What if a wave whooshes over us and a wallowing walrus swims up and swallows us? WHAT THEN? “

If we’re going swimming,” said Weasel, “I’ll want to wear my water wings!”

You’re so wise, Weasel,” cried Wombat. “We won’t be worrywarts!”


But then Weasel began to worry. “WAIT!” he wailed. “WHAT IF … we’re waltzing down the pathway when a wicked wolf comes winding his way toward us? What if we wave to him, but he won’t wag his tail? What if we’re running away when the weather worsens? What if a whirlwind blows in from the west and sweeps us away into the wilderness? WHAT THEN?”


If it’s going to be windy,” said Woodchuck, “I’ll want to wear my woolly underwear!”
“You’re so wise, Woodchuck,” cried Weasel. “We won’t be worrywarts.”


But then Woodchuck began to worry. “WAIT!” he wailed. “WHAT IF … we’re whistling while we walk through the woods and we wake up an owl? What if he gets worked up and swoops down with a swish of his wings and whisks us away? What if the weight’s too much for him and he begins to wobble? What if he drops us into a swamp and a warthog comes waddling along and wallops us? WHAT THEN?”

If we’re going flying” said Wombat, “I’ll want to wear my wind helmet!”
“You’re so wise, Wombat,” cried Woodchuck. “We won’t be worrywarts.”

Then, without wasting any more time they wrapped the watercress-on-whole-wheat-bread sandwiches, the waffles with whipped cream, the walnut wafers, the wedges of watermelon, and the wieners and liverwurst in waxed paper. Woodchuck put the “W” volume of Webster’s Book Of Words into his wheelbarrow, and away they went to wander the world ……..


Now I am not suggesting that anyone here is a Wombat, or a Weasel or a Woodchuck, but I suspect that there are some among us, including myself, who can be ‘worrywarts.’ Will it be OK? What will people think? Have I prepared enough? What if? ….. It is clear from the gospel reading, that even Jesus’ disciples had worries, and really it is no wonder when they lived a life wandering from town to town and no doubt wondering where the next meal would come from. But Jesus clearly tells them:

do not worry about your life”

It must have been a hard lesson, since he had only just finished warning his disciples to be ‘on guard against the Pharisees’ – they were undoubtedly being watched closely, scrutinized, maybe followed – certainly enough to cause them anxiety. But Jesus was telling them not to worry.

Jesus had also asked his disciples to leave everything and follow him, and for some that meant leaving a lucrative fishing business, while others had worked as modern day lawyers and accountants. But Jesus clearly tells them not to worry about money or riches. In fact, he repeatedly warns against greed and idolizing money. In the parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus tells his listeners that they should not store up money and riches, but should instead look for riches in God’s sight.

And it is a powerful lesson for us today too. We are caught up in a society where we are encouraged to max our credit cards to the limit, to get the biggest possible mortgage loans, the cheapest possible car payments etc. etc. In a recent survey from Statistics Canada, it stated that the average Canadian household owed more than $1.50 for every $1 earned.  It is no wonder that most just can’t catch up – and for many the financial anxiety leads to a life of worrying.

And for many, unemployment is another reason for worry. Although we are told that unemployment is on the decline in Canada, 7.2% of the population in still unemployed.  And try to talking to someone who had just lost their job, with a mortgage or rent to pay, car payments, children in school – it is no wonder that the anxiety causes depression.  In fact, Health Canada tells us that approximately 8% of adult Canadians will experience major depression or anxiety at some point in their lives.  It is the fastest growing diagnosis in Canada.

So is Jesus just telling us “don’t worry – be happy.” I don’t believe so. In fact he actually cautions us not to :

take life easy, eat drink and be merry,” –

which could be a quote from some Lottery 649, or Registered Saving’s Plan commercial.

What Jesus IS telling us to do, is to TRUST that he will take care of us. It is a difficult concept for us in the western world where we are encouraged to plan for the future, where we have so much, and are enticed to get even more. And yet, if we were to take away all we had – then, I suspect we would lean on Christ more. The less we have, the more we trust that he will provide for us.

I remember when I first came to Canada. I knew that I could bring very little with me and so I had a party before I left England to share out my unnecessary possessions. I remember that friends walked in with a bottle of wine, and left with an ironing board, or a microwave. There was something very liberating about that. If it didn’t fit into my backpack – I didn’t need it. My mother, of course, was the worrywart. She saw her daughter going off to a foreign land where I had no planned job, nowhere to really live except some friends’ floors, and no family to lean on. I suspect now, that if Gavin does the same when he’s an adult – I will be a worrywart too!  I am not sure if I really had a plan, but what I did have was a simple faith. I trusted that everything would be OK in the end. I trusted that God would take care of me because He promised me:

I know the plans I have for you … plans to give you hope and a future.”

I honestly didn’t know what those plans were – and many times things seemed pretty lonely.  Moving here to Stratford from Toronto seemed like a mistake at first – there was no nightlife for a single woman!  But I persevered.  I tried not to worry.  I even became a foster parent as a single woman.  I didn’t know then that God had plans for me to meet Blair, get married and have a family. You see, God was taking care of me.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you should all sell everything, emigrate and meet the man of your dreams!  But I am encouraging you to stop worrying about things, whether it is about financial goals, relationships, health or future plans. Stop asking “what if ..” and replace that with “I trust you God.”

I realize that it is hard not to worry when life really seems like it is against you. Nobody knows this more than Canadian Athlete, Michelle Stillwell. At the age of 17, with her whole life ahead of her, she was injured while piggy back riding on a friend, she fell down a flight of stairs, broke her neck and was left paralyzed.  It would have been easy for her to give in. She admits that she had deep dark doubts about her future.  But Michelle also had a strong faith. With the help of her athletic coach, she turned her attention to wheelchair basketball. In 2008 she was the only female quadriplegic to compete in Basketball at the Paralympic Games. She won gold, and then went onto to win two more gold medals in the woman’s 200m and 100m events.  She held her title in London Paralympics, adding another gold and silver to her medal collection. Michelle recently said in an interview:

Sometimes our only choice is to change our attitudes when we are faced with adversity or challenge.

And that is what Christ is calling us to do in this passage. He is asking us to change our attitudes – change from worrying to trusting. There have been some dark times for me in my journey – life threatening illnesses, death of my parents and brother, personal uncertainties – but I try my best to trust in God, and not to worry about what the future may hold.  Sometimes during those dark times, I find myself taking solace in a beautiful sunset, or as a keen gardener I find peace in gardening.  Just like Jesus said in our gospel reading – there is something reassuring in looking at perfectness of nature.  Albert Einstein said:

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.


I am reminded of a song that I used to sing as child in church – I won’t torture you with my singing, but I do would like to end by reflecting on the words with you:


I do not know what lies ahead,
The way I cannot see,
yet one stands near to be my guide,
He’ll show the way to me.

I know who holds the future
And He’ll guide me with His hand
With God things don’t just happen,
Everything by Him is planned,
So as I face tomorrow,
With its problems large and small,
I’ll trust the God of miracles,
Give to Him my all.