Briercrest Chapel: Do Not Worry; Seek First the Kingdom

What an end to our year! I hope everyone has safely made it home, or to wherever you will be staying during this next month. 

The end of the year is always accompanied by sadness, but that sting has been sharpened by how sudden it came about. It seems like the end of the year always reminds us how rich and beautiful our life together is at Briercrest.

And so, we mourn the end of another good year, even as we look ahead to what is next.

I’ve spent the last week brainstorming how I can serve you guys as chaplain even though you’ve all left our campus. It has been a bit of an adjustment: two weeks ago, I was speaking in front of a semi-full chapel (haste the day when we see the whole Hildebrand filled!); now Caronport is a ghost town. 

As I write this, I am sitting in a vacated Student Development office with the lights turned off.  But the change of pace can be a good thing. I’ve had time to reflect on where we’ve been all year, and now there’s an opportunity for us to think about the things we learned together in chapel with a new, shifted focus.

All year, we’ve been asking, “How do we see the kingdom breaking in here and now at Briercrest?” but now it’s time to ask, “How do we see the kingdom breaking in wherever God has placed us?” 

We talked about how Jesus and the authors of Scripture describe the kingdom of God, and we brainstormed what that kind of kingdom could look like on a college campus. Now it’s time to think about what seeking the kingdom looks like for us at home and abroad. 

The goal of all the materials I’ll be releasing in the coming weeks (check out the Monday check-in video below if you haven’t already!) is (a) to reflect on some of the places we’ve been in chapel this year already, and (b) to press in to how we can continue seeking the kingdom wherever we are.

Live video from BriercrestLife's Instagram launching Briercrest Chapel online

Today’s passage: Luke 12:22–24

Today I want to swing back to where we began our year.

You may not remember, but in our first official chapel, way back on September 5th, we read Luke 12:22-24 together. In this passage Jesus instructs his disciples, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing” (12:22-23). He then provides the example of the ravens, who God feeds, and the lilies, who God clothes, even though they do not toil, labour, or worry. He reminds his followers that by worrying they cannot add a single hour to their lives (12:25). 

Then Jesus hits us with this bomb: “For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (12:30-31). 

In that chapel I encouraged us to lay aside the worries of our lives and look for what God wanted to do this year at Briercrest. With the spread of COVID-19, I think the message hits even closer to home. 

If you have been into any grocery store this week, you’ve seen the nations of the world striving after what they will eat and wear and wipe with. The pandemic has caused many to worry and stress about what will happen next. 

But we can be a people who don’t allow worry and stress to rule the day. Yes, we’ll take the proper precautions (like going online with our education), but we don’t need to be motivated by panic.

There will always be reasons to worry and fret about the future and about how we will be provided for, but Jesus calls us to be people who strive for his kingdom. And, beautifully, he promises that it is God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom and everything else we need (12:31-32). 

So, let’s do that together! During this crisis, let’s continue seeking the kingdom, and looking for ways to live into God’s kingdom here on earth.

You can listen to the full recording of this sermon from September 5th here.

Where do we start?

A great place to start is caring for the weak and needy. We talked about this in our first two weeks of school, and I’m going to be reminding you of some of those messages on the chapel podcast this week. Let’s work on turning our eyes outward to the needs of those around us rather than having an inward focus—worry for ourselves and our own well-being. 

We’ll see the kingdom of God shining into our world where people are self-sacrificially caring for others during this time of crisis instead of looking out for their own interests. 

In fact, our Outreach Coordinator, Will Dmytrow, has created a simple template for offering help to people who are self-isolating and need some assistance. Simply print this card off, fill it out, and distribute it wherever you are to let your neighbours know you're available to help. You can download the template here. 

That’s my challenge for us this week: “Do not worry about your life … instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

This week's podcasts:

Please note that we’re experiencing podcast looping issues in Safari and we’ve confirmed that this is an iOS issue. We recommend that iOS users open podcast links in a different browser, or download podcast audio directly to their devices.

"Let's Talk Theology" Vol. 1 video:

Zoom video recording of Let's Talk Theology Vol. 1

Some Scripture for us to read and pray about together this week:

  • Luke 12:22-34
  • Luke 22:24-30
  • Romans 14
  • Philippians 4:4-9

This week’s prayer requests:

  • Pray for all the Briercrest students who are still travelling home.
  • Pray for friends and classmates who are going home to tough situations.
  • Pray for each other: that we would all have strength and discipline to get our work done at home.
  • Pray that we would know the peace of Christ in this time of crisis.
  • Pray that God’s Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.

Keep watching the blog for more videos, podcasts, and devotionals.

Go in peace to love and serve the LORD!

Jason Wendel

Jason Wendel is the Chaplain at Briercrest College. He recently graduated from Briercrest Seminary with a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Languages and Exegesis. Jason is a thoroughbred Briercrester, having completed his high school, college, and seminary education there. He and his wife, Julie, continue to enjoy life in Caronport as they work for the school.

Discipleship Church