GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus – Sermon on Mount (Part 28)
We now have the Lord’s Prayer, for how to pray, and follow the path of Jesus and invest in ways that count for eternity. Jesus now transitions from prayer to warnings about wealth and rewards and the sequel, of worry and anxiety, that follows from distractions around us.
Matthew 6:25-3425“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
1. Worry and Anxiety, Unavoidable with the Wrong Values. Jesus moves from the warnings about money and wealth to its sequel and traveling companion, worry and anxiety. If in fact we choose to serve the Master Money, we are increasingly paralyzed with worry and anxiety. Why? Because there never is enough to either satisfy the insatiable reach for replacing possessions for God, for exchanging time for eternity, for following temporary values over the needs of our soul, and for negotiating our lives when they are only in the control of God. The end result. Worrying about our lives.
2. Futility of Worry. Jesus demonstrates his point. Why worry about food or clothing when trusting God as our provider. He provides for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. And the dramatic point – no one can add an hour to his life by worry. We choose. We can chase life which runs through fingers like the world, or we can rely on God as our provider, who is unmatched – even over the wealth of Solomon – in the splendor and provisions of all that is around us, as a demonstration of his control and provisions of life.
3. Value Adjustments Which Counter Act Worry and Anxiety. Or we can follow the Master our God. Many Christians misconstrue this text. Jesus is not offering a panacea or promise that following Him results in no worry or no trouble. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34b). One of my favorite saints, now with the Lord, reminded me of the VICISSITUDES of life – the quality of life being changeable, unpredictable. That is true. Following Jesus does not remove the troubles of life, of each day. It answers the eternal and questions of the soul – it keeps us from mistaking time for eternity, of the body for the soul, and reminding us that all that we have belongs to God, and we are merely temporary caretakers of what we have – those things being MONEY, TIME, POSSESSIONS, AND RELATIONSHIPS.
Such is the FOR IN LIFE’S ROAD for every person – 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24. Choose your poison or choose your passion. Everyone decides. God has no grandchildren. This is a life and eternal decision that each person must make, and does make, which leads to worry and anxiety, or faith and joy and spiritual resolve.
God’s best to you this week. Next week we take on the dangers of a critical and judgmental spirit.
— John Moore