This discussion is made up of three parts, with each part containing a reflection and a set of discussion questions. Either with your OCF chapter, a friend or two, or just on your own, read each reflection and discuss the questions related to it. You can choose to break the discussion into multiple sessions, tackling a portion each week, or you can do the whole thing in one sitting.
O Lord, You who steadied the hand of Peter as he began to sink on the stormy sea, if you are with me, no one is against me. Grant to me the shield of faith and the mighty armor of the Holy Spirit to protect me and guide me to do Your will. The future I put into Your hands, O Lord, and I follow You to a life in Christ. Amen.
Part I: Why Worry?
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
Have you ever caught yourself hurrying to the point of worrying? Worry can creep into our lives when we rush to fulfill ideals that are not in accordance with God’s will or when we rush toward things which God does not want us to concern ourselves with yet. While God gave us the drive to accomplish His work, we often misuse it because we’ve created false impressions of what is needful.
There are many worldly cares that we face in life. We worry about our grades, worry about our image, worry about what must be done tomorrow. This is all a distraction from prayerfully completing our God’s work in peace.
- What does this passage from Matthew make you think and feel? Are there parts of you that resist its message or find it too difficult to live day to day?
- Many of us end up hurrying because we procrastinate, pridefully expecting too much of our own (late-night) abilities. What can we practically do to budget time every day fto accomplish our work at an even and healthy pace?
- How can we do our work in light of this Scripture which reminds us that all is in God’s hands?
- Worry is destroyed by thankfulness for the present. What are you thankful for today? Consider especially the smallest things, like the petals on the lilies and the worms for the birds.
Part II: Why Hurry?
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
And the Lord appeared unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant.” And they said, “So do, as thou hast said.” And Abraham hurried into the tent unto Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.”
Hurry is a double-edged sword for the Christian. On one hand, we may hurry as a result of our fallenness and self-reliance, ending up in worry. On the other hand, hurrying to repentance is needed for the Christian life. As we dedicate our lives to acquiring the Godly mindset, we must reorient our own worldview through the lens of the Scriptures that God Himself breathed out. Matthew tells us that the disciples left their nets straightway when they heard the call of repentance. And in Genesis we hear that Abraham instructed Sarah to make cakes quickly when God’s messengers appear at their door. Hurry has its place when we are quick to repent, quick to serve God, and quick to respond to His presence.
- Jesus asked his disciples to drop everything to hurry and follow Him. What’s a small way we can do this today?
- What can we do to hurry to be present to God instead of dragging our feet to prayer?
- Abraham dropped everything instantly to offer hospitality to the Lord. Service to neighbor can be a service to God. How can we serve God by hurrying to aid our neighbor?
Part III: Refocusing Our Energy
“For our good, for our happiness at least let us make a vow that from this day, from this hour, from this minute we shall strive to love God above all else and to fulfill His holy will.”
St. Herman of Alaska
“Brothers: it is later than you think. Hasten, therefore, to do the work of God.”
Fr. Seraphim Rose
“I saw your anxiety. But don’t be sad, my child. Don’t worry so much. Even though you have fallen again, get up again. You have been called to a heavenly road. It is not surprising for someone running to stumble. It just takes patience and repentance at every moment.”
St. Joseph the Hesychast
The saints tell us to hasten to do the will of God and at the same time to let go of our anxieties. Thus, all of our hurry must come from the right posture of the heart. When we hasten to do God’s will, we leave behind all needless cares. When we hurry in a worldly way, we neglect the one thing needful.
- When we hasten to do God’s will, it is so different from our daily rushing around. Can you think of a time when hurry has caused you to stumble, do a job incorrectly, or caused you to worry too much?
- What about the opposite? How has hurrying to follow God and obey his commandments relieved you from anxiety, helped you manage a difficult situation, or given you clarity to move forward?