I ordered a hot roast beef baguette and a takeout coffee from the sandwich shop. Just the thing to bring back to the office in the middle of the day as I needed to munch and sip whilst doing some preparation over lunch. Back at my desk I had a drink of coffee and it was then that I heard it. A buzzing noise. I listened again to see if I could find the source. It sounded like a bee or a wasp. There it was again. But where was it coming from? Then, to my horror, I worked it out. It was coming from inside my coffee cup.
What should I do? Let it out slowly? Open the window first? Step outside? I wasn’t sure. But how had it got into my coffee cup? Never mind. It needed dealing with. It required action. So – very carefully – I opened the lid… And there was nothing there! No wasp. No bee. Nothing. Just the coffee. Strange. So I replaced the lid and took another sip. And the it was again! How bizarre!!
So I tried to think it through. The buzzing only happened as the coffee was at my lips. So I sipped more, and yes, the buzz continued. And then it began to dawn on me. Of course. It wasn’t the buzz of a stinging insect after all. It was the noise of some kind of air-lock between my lips and the cup lid, that made a buzzing notice rather like a wasp. Stupid me! It was me! ME making the noise. I was relieved. There was no wasp in my coffee. There was nothing to worry about.
I told Sam about it when I got home. I talked her through the buzzing noise and I could see the look of concern on her face as she thought about the possibility of swallowing a wasp. And then she smiled as I told her it was just me! And it got us talking – about things we worry about that are really nothing to worry about at all.
If you think about it, most of the things we worry about are not, in the end, things to worry about. It’s so easy to make something out to be more difficult or confusing or problematic than it really is. We do it all the time. But for most things, we don’t need to. That upcoming conversation with the supervisor will not be as bad as we anticipate. Neither is the difficult phone-call as tricky as we imagine. And that abdominal pain probably isn’t cancer.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting life is always easy, or we shouldn’t prepare well for tricky circumstances, or should avoid going to the doctor if we feel ill. But I am saying that, in retrospect, many of the things we worry about were not worth worrying about. Like the buzzing in my coffee cup. It was nothing at all!
We have a Gift Day at The Belfrey this weekend. We’re looking for £50K to bridge a gap in the church finances. Without that money, we’ll be in difficulty later in the year. As Vicar, and ultimately responsible for the church, that could get me worried. But it shouldn’t. It needn’t. I’m confident, with the other leaders, that we’re heading in the right direction. I know we’re not wasting money and are being transparent about where we’re spending. We’ve asked the church to give, and we’ve asked the Lord to provide. So there’s nothing to worry about.
I know there are some for whom the thought of raising £50K gets them really worried and they feel like their contribution will be so small, it’s not worth giving at all. But that’s not true. It may feel like a drop in the bucket, but the bucket gets wetter! For some even on a good income, the thought of giving, say £100 or £500 worries them. That might mean the jacket they hope to buy will have to wait, or the holiday they were planning might not happen for a few months. And I understand that. But God knows. He really does. Which is why Jesus said to people who were fearful about food and clothes and money that they should ‘seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness’ (Matthew 6:25). If you prioritise that, Jesus says, he’ll look after the other basic stuff that we need. Interestingly, Jesus begins that section of teaching with the simple phrase: ‘Do not worry.’ I suspect he’s not pointing the finger, commanding his followers to not worry. Rather, I imagine him telling them, in a relaxed and encouraging manner, that there’s no need to worry if we put God first.
I’ve found that to be true. Even concerning a silly buzzing noise in my coffee cup.
There’s nothing to worry about.