The dateline on the story which appeared in the news was, CAREFREE, ARIZONA. You haven’t heard of Carefree, Arizona? Right. Neither had I. It’s a small, desert town with a couple of gas stations and a post office, but it has one more thing going for it. It’s the hub of activity for an entrepreneur by the name of Gregg Warren, who as a kind of fluke, capitalized on the name, and parlayed it into a profitable business.
Gregg is a pilot, and when he was on a trip to Thailand, he observed that Buddhist monks would ask people to write their problems out, burn them, then put the ashes in a pouch and wear them around their necks. After a few days, he observed them carrying the ashes to the nearby foothills and tossing them to the wind.
Returning home to Carefree, Arizona, Warren–half in jest, half serious–shared the experience with some friends who thought the Worry Free idea couldn’t hurt anything. Fifteen people asked him to dispose of their worries written out on paper then reduced to ashes. Then Warren got bold enough to run an ad in the newspaper. Then he started printing a certificate; the Worry Free idea took hold.
Along with their list of worries, people began writing, unburdening their hearts about broken marriages, kids on drugs, problems with money, cheating mates, and fears about their health.
Long ago Jesus challenged His followers, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Does it work? Or is it simply a spiritual exercise, like spreading the ashes of your worries over the little town of Carefree? If my answer should be based on the joyful expression of Christians who live carefree lives, punctuated with bursts of joyfulness, I would have to say, “No! Doesn’t really work!”
How many believers do you know who are known for the smoothness of their worry-free brows? We say we believe God makes a difference, yet carry loads of worry around as though God was no more able to help us than a Buddhist image made of wood, stone, and gold.
The first time Warren tried disposing of the worry ashes over the little town of Carefree, the wind from the plane blew them all back in his face, which may really be the way it is when you don’t really trust God to deal with your worries.
There is a big difference between throwing the ashes of your worries to the wind and believing that a living God will deal with a situation! If God is alive and His Word is true, then He can do something about the situations that create our troubles and cares–something lasting, physical, and real.
If, however, God is only a wish, a prayer, or a religious exercise in positive thinking, forget it. Nothing is going to happen.
Peter wrote, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The care of a living God who hasn’t abandoned you makes all the difference in the world. By the way, Carefree could and should be the address of every true child of God. Joseph Scriven put it so well when he wrote, “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.” It’s the only lasting solution to the problem of worry.
Resource Reading: Matthew 6:25-34
Text: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – May 4, 2017