If you’re going to worry, focus on the most important things

Published 5:28 am Sunday, February 27, 2022

Have you ever met someone who is a chronic worrier? They can’t seem to enjoy life because they’re always worried about something.
In his book, “Laugh Again,” author Charles Swindoll tells the story of a woman who was a chronic worrier.
One day, she went to the local pet store thinking that a pet might be good company. She told the store owner she wanted a pet that could be a real companion, “almost like another human being in the house.”
Suddenly, he thought of one of his prized parrots. He showed her the colorful bird.
“Does it talk?” she asked.
“Absolutely… a real chatterbox. Everybody who comes in the store is astounded by this parrot’s friendly disposition and wide vocabulary. That’s why it’s so expensive.”
She bought the expensive parrot and hauled it home in a large, elegant cage.
However, a full week passed without the bird’s saying one word. Beginning to worry, she dropped by the pet shop.
“How’s the parrot doing?” asked the owner. “Quite a talker, huh?”
“Not one word,” she replied. “I haven’t been able to get a sound out of that bird!”
“Well, did you buy it a mirror? A parrot needs a mirror. It’s funny, but while looking at itself, a parrot starts to feel comfortable. In no time it will begin to talk.” So she bought a mirror and put it into the cage.
Time passed, still nothing.
Each day the woman talked to the bird, but not a peep came out of its beak. She began to worry even more.
“The parrot isn’t talking,” she told the owner a week later. “All that money, the mirror, and still nothing.”
“Say, did you buy it a ladder? The parrot will look in the mirror and get a little exercise, climbing up and down this ladder several times. Before long you won’t believe what you hear!”
She bought the ladder and put it into the cage next to the mirror… and waited.
Another week went by, still nothing. She started to panic… so she returned to the store in tears.
“Did you buy it a swing?” asked the owner. “A parrot needs to feel completely at home. It glances in the mirror, takes a stroll up and down the ladder, before long it’s on the swing enjoying itself… and bingo!”
The woman bought the swing. She attached it to the top of the cage near the ladder and coaxed the parrot up the ladder and onto the swing. For another week, not one sound came from the cage.
Suddenly she came bursting into the pet store, really steaming.
“It died! My expensive bird is dead in the bottom of the cage.”
“Well, I can’t believe that,” said the owner. “Did it ever say anything at all?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, it did. As it lay there taking its last few breaths, it said very faintly, ‘Don’t they have any food down at that store?’”
You see, worry forces us to focus on the wrong things.
By turning our attention to the wrong things, worry leads us to live our lives for the wrong reasons. So the next time you’re tempted to worry, just do what 1 Peter 5:7 instructs you to do: “Cast all your care upon the Lord; for He cares for you.”
The Lord is well able to handle all of your problems.

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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