Summary: Yiou have to choose God or the god of this world - money
A man cannot serve two masters
I was recently contacted out of the blue and asked to read a book called The Uncommon Philosopher- The Wisdom of Boethius, Maimonides and Schumacher – three philosophers of which I had heard nothing –by James MacFarlane.
In the book’s introduction, James Macfarlane says this:
“Finding a way to settled conviction in life is difficult in our age. We have unparalleled security for the means of life, yet unbounded scepticism about its meaning or purpose. We take refuge in the practicalities of the everyday round. But when that normality is disrupted by the traumas of major life events, we can start to flounder.”(piii, The Uncommon Philosopher- The Wisdom of Boethius, Maimonides and Schumacher - James MacFarlane.)
The Lectionary reading of our Gospel passage this morning starts with the word “Therefore”. So to give any meaning to the subsequent passage we need to start with v 24 which says:
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Jesus in this passage is asking us on what we wish to base our “settled conviction in life”.
Or put another – what master do you wish to serve?
God or Money.
Worrying about money is one of the biggest killers in our society today. And if it is not about money – there is often something else we worry about.
But as Christians so rarely do we worry about whether on not be are really doing God’s will.
And yet Jesus told his disciples not to worry about our needs in life. He said:
25"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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
And Jesus went on to give the reason:
30 If …..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, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Story: When we went to the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem last month (Jan 2014), our Guide in the Garden Tomb pointed across Jerusalem to some buildings and told us that is where Horatio Spafford used to live.
Many on our trip didn’t know who Spafford was.
Horatio Spafford, a well-known Chicago lawyer, was the author of the very famous “Free Church” hymn called “It is well with my soul”.
And I’d like to read it to you
1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul”
It is well (it is well) with my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
And Spafford goes on to say:
4. For me be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live
If Jordan above me shall roll
No pang shall be mine for in death as in life
You will whisper Your peace to my soul
5. And Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is a beautiful hymn – but let me tell you the story behind the hymn.
You might be tempted to think that the man who wrote that would indeed have to be a rich, successful Chicago lawyer, with all going for him.
But it wasn’t so when he wrote the hymn.
On the contrary, the words came from a man who had suffered almost unimaginable personal tragedy.
Horatio Spafford and his wife, Anna, were well-known in Chicago in the late 19th Century.
And this was not just because of Spafford’s legal career and business endeavours.
The Spaffords were also prominent supporters and close friends of D.L. Moody, the famous evangelist - the “Billy Graham” of the 19th Century
In 1870, however, things started to go wrong for Spafford.
The Spaffords' only son died of scarlet fever at the age of four.
A year later, all the real estate that Spafford had invested in on the shores of Lake Michigan was destroyed by the Great Fire of Chicago of 8th-10th October of 1871.