Anxiety doesn’t take a vacation. Even though it’s Thanksgiving and we’re supposed to be thankful for what God has given us, there’s still a part of us that’s anxious, that’s worried. You know what you’re worried about, what’s distressing you. It’s hard to be thankful while something is hanging over your head.
Do not worry, Jesus says. If you’re worrying about anything right now—and you’re human, so chances are you’re probably worrying about something—a phrase like that can sound flippant, entirely dismissive of your concern. Don’t worry. Let me get right on that, Jesus. It sounds as uncaring as telling someone battling depression “Just think happy thoughts” or telling someone with stage four cancer “keep your chin up!” It sounds like a canned phrase, a sentiment just tossed out there when someone doesn’t know what else to say.
Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.