My wife and I were attending a celebration of life ceremony given by our friend Martha for her husband, Charlie, who had just lost the ultimate battle. Martha and Charlie had attended church with us for many years, and we had a tendency to gather now and then and commiserate about something we shared. Financial woes. In a area like North County where there is so much affluence, it was nice to have each other to lean on.
Losing Charlie was hard to wrap our minds around and watching Martha go through what she did was excruciating. As we stood in the receiving line quietly rehearsing what might be the appropriate thing to say to her, for me, nothing was coming to mind. Knowing what to say at a time like this is always impossible to get right—and I really wanted to get this right. She is a lovely person. Finally, it was our turn to step up.
“Martha,” my wife said as she moved in to give her a hug. Now would be the moment we would have to come up with the perfect sentiment to let her know how much we loved her or give her a comforting word or point her toward an eternal perspective or…
“Hey, you two,” she said as she took us by the hand. “I want you to know something. One of the last things Charlie and I talked about before he passed was just how much we regretted that we spent so much of our marriage worrying about money. God had always provided and was always going to.”
We looked at her, and she looked back at us with a slight nod as if trying to cement the idea.
It hit us hard. We weren’t there to give her something at all, but the other way around.
When Charlie’s time was winding down and they shared those final moments together gathering and holding close all that really mattered in life, worry about money wasn’t one of them. In fact, worry had been a thief.
Martha wanted to give us that as a parting gift, a boxed and bowed treasure from their life together—something they didn’t get a chance to use: freedom.
And so, we are listening. We must stop giving money so much power over our lives because the worry about it is stealing our joy. Martha, and Charlie, say so. And I believe them.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.