Summary: This passage is often taken out of context by people wanting "just a little less worry." In fact, the promises here are intimated tied to Jesus’ statements on about investing in the Kingdom (vv. 19-24).
- These verses make up one of my two favorite passages in the Bible. Still, as I studied this passage this week, I saw something that I had never seen before, something that opened up a depth that I hadn’t known was there.
- The key thing that I had never put together is that it is impossible to properly understand Jesus’ teaching on worry (vv. 25-34) without tying them tightly to Jesus’ teaching on money (vv. 19-24). Jesus’ teaching here is not really about worry generally, but specifically about the worries that will likely ensue if we adopt Jesus’ plan for handling our finances. The two sections have to be taken together in order to fully make sense. (Indeed, the “therefore” in v. 25 seems to emphasize that link.)
Our Request For Our Lives:
“How to have a little less worry about our finances.”
- Usually, we aren’t really interested in changing our fiscal priorities or our spending habits. We just want “4 Easy Steps To Reduce Worry.” Nothing too involved, just a little advice. But Jesus is not interested here in band-aid answers.
Jesus’ Vision For Our Lives:
“How to live a life of joyful dependence.”
- Jesus’ vision for our financial lives is revolutionary. It will require a totally different view of our money, where we invest it, and how we spend it.
- He is calling us to a life of using our money to expand the Kingdom (vv. 19-20). He is calling us to put our money where our salvation is by investing in the Kingdom, believing it is the most important thing we can ever share in.
- Further, as we joyfully invest in that Kingdom, we then live in “joyful dependence” on God to care for our needs. Knowing our likely anxiety about not being in charge of the money anymore, Jesus goes to great lengths (vv. 25-34) to explain why this dependence can be joyful and not stressful.
- The hard truth is that vv. 25-34 are not really directed toward us unless we’ve chosen to live out the truths of vv. 19-24. To ask the Father to reduce our worry about finances when we have refused to heed Jesus’ call concerning our finances is likely to receive no response from above.
What’s That Look Like?
- What does Jesus’ vision for our financial lives look like? If we wanted to take Jesus up on His offer, what are the specifics of how this would flesh out in our everyday lives? Here’s an overview.
1. It all starts a desire to invest in Jesus’ Kingdom instead of just buying more junk.
- vv. 19-20.
- We have to come to the place where we show with our wallets (and not just in what we say) that the Kingdom of God is the most important, most eternal, most worthy, most wonderful thing going on earth right now. If we truly believe that, our hearts will rush for the chance to invest in what God is doing.
- This attitude would be comparable to the IPO for Google recently. Everybody thought this was going to be the next big thing and everyone was desperate to get a piece of the action. Are we desperate to get “a piece of the action” with the Kingdom of God?
- Some may ask why God needs our investment dollars. The truth is that He doesn’t need our money - He’s got all the resources in the world. Still, in His providence, He has chosen to let us participate in what He is doing around the world, not only with our words and actions, but also with our money. (As the sermon progresses, we will see some of the practical benefits to our faith that come with living this way.)
2. That desire develops into a focus of wanting more glory for God instead of more stuff for me.
- Our ultimate goal in life is supposed to be to give glory to God.
- We should desire to bring glory to God because (a) He is the One who saved us, (b) it makes sense that we should glory in the One who is supremely valuable, and (c) it was Jesus’ stated goal.
- When considering where specifically we should invest our money, the simplest answer would be: “Anywhere where it can bring glory to God.” Seeing churches expand, seeing children’s hearts touched, seeing people’s bondage broken, seeing the gospel preached - those are just a few examples of ways to invest our money that can bring glory to God.
- It is unwise for us to think legalistically about what an appropriate lifestyle would be. You could very quickly get into “It’s ok to own a Toyota but not a Audi” or “It’s ok to have three bedrooms but not four.” All of that is legalistic nonsense. The point of this whole thing is not to set an absolute income that every Christian should live on. Some people have greater medical bills, some have more kids, some eat more.