By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
“If we put our eyes on Him, we shouldn’t have to worry. Worry is a costly consequence of choosing self,” answered A.B. Vines, senior pastor of New Seasons Church, in Spring Valley, Calif., who spoke at the Nov. 11 morning session of Connect 2013, the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
“The issue is we can have too many gods,” he said, pointing to Matthew 6:24, where Jesus warns against serving two masters. “If God is God, then we are going to put all our trust in God and not put our trust in mammon or the other thing. When we choose the other thing, we are asking God, ‘How is this thing going to work for me and not for You?’”
Vines, who also serves as president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention, stressed, “If I choose to worry, I am saying, ‘God, I am more concerned about my issues than Your issues. I am more concerned about my needs than Your needs.’”
Pointing to Matthew 13:22, Vines asked, “How many of us can hear the Word of God, know the Word of God, and allow the cares of the world choke us?”
Vines said people spend too much time worrying, and as a result, find themselves not doing the will of the Lord. “Preachers, stop stressing about numbers… deacon boards… choir members. Just serve God, and let God be God. You do your part, and I guarantee you, God will show up!”
Noting God will step back and allow people to choose the sin of worry, Vines further defined worry as “a costly consequence of choosing sin.
“Sometimes, when we put all our faith in our schemes, our programs, our denomination and association, we forget to know that God can do it all by Himself… He just needs to hear you say, ‘Lord, I surrender all.’”
Acknowledging worry causes people to change physically, emotionally and spiritually, Vines added, “To worry is to divide your mind between that which is useful and worthwhile and that which is damaging and destructive,” he said.
Worry also blocks the flow of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, Vines said, calling worry, “unbelief.”
“I have to trust that God is going to make a way, that God is going to send a fresh revival, and God will do something, if I just trust God and preach His Gospel,” he said. “But I’ve got to go do the will of God. I just can’t stand and wait for another program.”
Even the rapper “50 Cent” seemed to understand. “If you are going to worry, why pray?” he once told Oprah.
Finally, “worry is a captivating challenger but can be conquered completely by the commands of Christ,” Vines said, referring to Matthew 6:33, where Jesus urges his listeners to seek first the Kingdom of God.
“Listen, I know it’s hard. I know it’s tough. But you’ve got to refocus your faith,” he said. “Stop worrying… Remember, grace, mercy and the Holy Spirit are with you. If you just do something, God will bless your efforts… Stop trying to figure it out and just start moving.”