Last Wednesday night I asked the youth to wander quietly around the front yard of FBC, to soak in the beauty surrounding them, and then to write a prayer (on the back of these cards) thanking God for providing for their needs.Trust

This all blossomed from a portion of an assignment I had undertaken for one of my classes at Campbell. Over the semester, we have looked at a text that has had significant influence on our lives—mine is Matthew 6:19-34—and we have looked at these texts from many different angles.

Part of our final assignment was to create a dynamic paraphrase that could be understood in our context of ministry. And since my context is Youth Ministry, I felt compelled to put Jesus’ admonition in this passage—summarized as “don’t worry, trust God”—into the following verse:

Stop trying to accumulate stocks and stock cars,
money and mutual funds,
scholarships and all the shizzle,
all that bling and everything.
Crooked bankers can snatch it quick,
internet hackers with just a click,
and natural disasters
can take stuff even faster.
Instead, deposit love into the lives
of your neighbors, girls and guys.
No one can steal what you give away freely,
so instead of brokenhearted
you’ll be all touchy feely.
Focus on the right thing
and God will make your heart sing,
you’ll walk upright in the light
and everything will feel just right!
Focus on what’s wrong?
You’ll sing a sorry, sad song,
and be lost in the dark
and might even be gone!
You can’t cast two Presidential votes,
there’s only one Captain
on every single boat,
you’ll either hate Trump
and love Hillary,
or love Cruz
and can’t stand Bernie.
You know it’s impossible
to serve money and the Gospel.
So don’t stress out about your life,
your clothes, your food, your drink, your wife.
Isn’t the life that God provides
more than a meat and three sides?
Look around at fish and fowl,
the birds and bees, and great horned owls.
God feeds each one of them,
and loves you more by, at least, times 10!
They get no ulcers,
make no fuss,
unlike us,
in God they trust.
Why do you spend so much on clothes
and before they’re old, turn up your nose?
You waste so much on fashion trends,
just to impress someone else’s friends.
See wildflowers all around,
beauty effervescing from the ground?
Kim and Kanye—all of Hollywood—
spending millions won’t look as good.
And if God ornaments blades of grass?
Relax! He’ll cover each lad and lass.
Food, drink, and clothes? No worries!
After these things, pagans hurry.
To this stuff do not pay heed!
God, your Father, knows all your needs.
And if you’ll focus on God first,
then clothing, hunger, and your thirst,
before each day is done
God will satisfy each one.
Worry only makes life worse,
focus upward, put God first.