Sermon 9th February 2020 Marlborough College Chapel: Matthew 6.25-34
As with so many readings from the Bible, at first the language might seem rather strange and the images that are used feel out of date. However, I think that it is not very hard to find a message that is still relevant for us, for you, this morning. Of course, I would say that, else I would probably not be standing here. I appreciate that you get advice from teachers and others all the time, so sometimes you may get a bit tired of it. Also, 8.30am on a Sunday morning is maybe not the time that you are most awake to absorb new knowledge and ideas. Fortunately, this morning’s reading can be summarised in a couple of words, easy to remember: don’t worry.
‘Don’t worry’ is not quite the same as ‘don’t try’ and even more different from ‘don’t care’. On the contrary, if you try and care, there is no reason to worry, however difficult this may be. Just a couple of example to illustrate this. The first one may be very much on your mind at the moment, or hopefully for at least some of you here: upcoming exams. And of course, a lot of you are worried, because they are important and may well have an impact on your future. That’s why you should care and try – which in this case means work hard.
However, there is no point in spending sleepless nights worrying about what may be in the exam, what the grade boundaries might be, or if your favourite topic will come up. That time is just wasted, and it distracts you from where your focus needs to be. So, when it comes to your academics the advice is: work hard, but don’t worry. This advice does not only apply to academics, but for example also to relationships and friendships. It is really important to care about others and about how you come across. It is equally important to try to look out for others by being kind and thoughtful. But, also in this case, there is no point in worrying how you may come across.
Time spent on wondering what your friends think of what you look like or what you say and do; or thinking what is the most socially acceptable place to sit in Norwood is time not very well-spent. So also here, it’s important to do your best when it comes to relationships, but don’t worry. I think you’re getting the point, so instead of giving more examples, I suggest that you use a little time to think of an example of your own. So, do your best: try and care, but don’t worry.