Summary: If we honestly consider the subject of how we part with our money, we will discover much about ourselves. Our text has much to teach about how financial security affects our trust in God.
Matthew 6:25-34 Worry and Giving
6/29/03 D. Marion Clark
Some may say that “stewardship” is a code word for asking for money. I suppose that is true to a point. But if we honestly consider the subject of how we part with our money, we will discover much about ourselves. Our text has much to teach about how financial security affects our trust in God.
The “therefore” reminds us that we are breaking into a sermon Jesus has been preaching. He has said something that leads him to making the remarks in our text. What has he said?
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.
Possessions possess the inherent danger of becoming our idols. We put our trust in them and give them our love. They in turn increase their hold on us, making us less trustworthy and less loving. As believers and followers of the Lord, they undermine our trust in, and love for, him. That is a fact of life: where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…You cannot serve God and money.
Our reaction would be that we do not serve money. We are not greedy and do not seek after wealth, at least not obsessively. We merely seek to provide for ourselves and our families. That’s fine; it is good to provide for oneself and especially one’s family, but it is all too easy for sensible responsibility to turn into an undue love and care for physical comfort and security. Thus, Jesus follows his teaching about making earthly treasures our masters by pointing out the starting place where we go astray.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
He presents the issue, which is worrying over life’s necessities: sustenance and protection for the body. We worry so as though life is nothing more than taking care of these things. Keep a proper perspective. Don’t be anxious about these things. He then proceeds to explain why we do not need to worry.
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
God the Father cares enough for them to see that they obtain what they need. Then comes Jesus’ point. Are you not of more value than they? Will God, who has made us a little lower than angels, not take even more care in providing for us? If you are debating the matter in your head, don’t bother; Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:29-31: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father…Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Jesus has an interesting perspective on how birds are fed. We look at birds and see them laboring for their food. They catch worms and bugs and seeds. They invade our gardens. They may not do the work of a farmer, but they do what they are fit to do, nevertheless.
That’s just the point. God feeds them by giving them the characteristics necessary to feed themselves. He also feeds them by controlling circumstances. Why, he has people like us put up bird feeders and plant gardens for them to raid. He lets people like me procrastinate mowing my yard, so that when I do, I’ve provided a rich table of insects for the birds to feast on. I dare say, though, that my resident mockingbirds and blue jays show no appreciation as they take advantage of the situation!
Jesus is not saying do not labor for food. We are equipped to labor. Don’t, however, give in to worry. The next sentence emphasizes the problem and its unproductivity. 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? We can add hours and years to our lives by taking proper care of our bodies. Worrying about our health does nothing except reduce hours. It is possible that Jesus is referring to the theological truth that our days are numbered by God and cannot be changed. I think in this context, however, that he is mocking the way we worry. We do take the mindset that if we are not worried enough, then we are not giving our and our family’s welfare the proper attention.