Summary: When we commit ourselves to God, He commits Himself to us.
Games People Play: “Hungry Hungry Hippos”
INTRODUCTION: Hungry Hungry Hippos is the game of get all you can while the getting is good. [Demonstrate game] My kids love to play Hungry Hungry Hippos; unfortunately, so do most Americans as we play for all the "marbles" we can.
[READ Matthew 6:25-34]
It is a pity this passage is often read on its own in church, isolated from what has gone before. The significance of the phrase “so I tell you” is missed unless we look at what Jesus has said right before—that “no one can serve two masters” and “you cannot serve both God and money.” Remember last week we saw how some people choose to serve God and use money, but others choose to serve money, and try to use God. If you choose to serve money, you will worry about life.
I. IF WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO MONEY, WE WILL WORRY ABOUT LIFE.
A. Do you worry? Worry can literally make us sick. It may even be possible to worry ourselves to death.
1. When we worry, we don’t worry with our minds, we worry with our organs. And if we worry long enough and hard enough, we will get ulcers and make ourselves vulnerable to all kinds of other sicknesses.
2. Worry can sometimes lead people to commit suicide.
B. The way we look at life, Jesus said, has a lot to do with how much we worry.
1. If we focus our attention on temporal things, such as bank accounts, careers, and physical appearance, we have reasons to worry. We can never get enough to keep us from worrying. Hungry Hippo marbles can represent our wardrobe, bank account, house, possessions.
2. People in Jesus’ day had just as much anxiety about life as we do.
a. Some may think life was easier in the first century because times were simpler and people didn’t have as much to worry about.
b. But most of the people in the ancient world lived like people in the third world today.
1) Workers were paid every day because they needed the money to live the next day.
2) Taxes were high, but there was no social security or safety net. Times were tough, but to people then and now, Jesus says “Don’t worry.”
C. Worry distorts our perspective on life.
1. According to our nation’s Bureau of Standards, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of a hundred feet contains less than one glass of water. All of that fog, if it could be condensed into water, wouldn’t quite fill a drinking glass. Compare this to the things we often worry about. Like fog our worries can thoroughly block our vision of the light of God, but the fact is, they have little substance to them.
2. What do you worry about most? Job? Family? Money? Health? Future?
3. ILLUSTRATION: If Danny Simpson had known more about guns, he might not have needed to rob the bank. But in 1990, in Ottawa, Canada, this 24-year-old went to jail, and his gun went to a museum. He was arrested for robbing a bank of $6,000 and then sent to jail for six years. He had used a .45 caliber Colt semi-automatic, which turned out to be an antique made by the Ross Rifle Company, Quebec City, in 1918. The pistol is worth up to $100,000—much more than Danny Simpson had stolen. If he had just known what he carried in his hand, he wouldn’t have robbed the bank. In other words, Danny already had what he needed.
>>What we value determines how we live. We have to choose—if we value what is temporal, we will serve money. If we value what is eternal, we will serve God. We all commit our lives to something—what that will be is up to us. One positive byproduct from serving God is that we don’t have to worry. Why? Because when we commit ourselves to Him, He commits Himself to us.
II. WHEN WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO GOD, HE COMMITS HIMSELF TO US.
A. Specifically, He commits Himself to providing for our basic needs: what goes into our bodies (food, drink) and what goes onto our bodies (clothes).
1. “Don’t worry” doesn’t mean “don’t work.” Jesus used birds as an example. Every self-respecting bird works hard for food and shelter. But it doesn’t worry. God isn’t against working; He’s against worrying. Jesus was saying to his disciples, “don’t worry about the necessities of life.” If we commit ourselves to Him, He commits Himself to us.
2. To illustrate God’s provision of clothing, Jesus next directs attention to “the lilies of the field.” Uncultivated vegetation does much less to provide for itself than do birds, yet God adorns it with beauty that at times surpasses the greatest splendor of human raiment. Plants prove more fragile than birds and more short-lived than humans. If God lavishes such concern over the rest of His creation, how much more does He love us!