Summary: Jesus clears the path for us to live a worry-free live.
When Glenys and I arrived at our cabin in Sauble Beach for our vacation, a sign over the two sinks in the cabin said “Don’t drink the water.” Most of us don’t like anyone telling us we can’t do something. The Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 are similar. “Thou shalt not” or “You shall not” instructions mean “Don’t”.
Instructions that say, “Don’t” may have more to do with “You shouldn’t because if you do there are consequences” rather than “You had better not”. We have free choice after all. However to do what we’re told not to do will mean the consequences won’t be pleasant. It’s the parent who says to a child, “Don’t eat that before dinner; it’ll spoil your appetite.” The child is insistent, “No it won’t.” You sit for dinner and the fork plays with the food but little goes in the mouth. Why? Because freewill didn’t pay attention to wisdom and a good meal was wasted.
It’s the parent who says to a child, “Don’t eat that before dinner; it’ll spoil your appetite.” The child is insistent, “No it won’t.” You sit for dinner and the fork plays with the food but little goes in the mouth. Why? Because freewill didn’t pay attention to wisdom and a good meal was wasted.
Today’s theme is worry. Who here has never worried? If you’ve never worried you can go now; there’s nothing more we can say to you!
The focus for our time in this text is verse 25 where Jesus told the people, “Do not worry”. Of course you can worry if you choose, that’s your ‘right’ with God’s gift of free will. But, you have to take the ulcer, the high or low blood pressure and sleepless nights that go with it. Jesus is telling us there’s a better alternative to worry and if you are sick of worry you can have that alternative! Does that interest you at all? Sign me up!
How is this remotely possible? Well, Jesus clears the path for us to live a worry-free live.
1. Make investments that outlive life
Did you notice those two words again “Do not”? It is in the same context as what I outlined before. You can, but there are consequences. So, the alternative is to look at your finances another way.
One source offers insightful information about these verses. The images here represent people who were obsessed with hoarding and acquiring wealth and resources to enhance personal comfort and luxury. The warning is not to focus selfishly or, as to quote the Fourfold Gospel Commentary, “not to look upon our possessions as permanent and abiding.”
In Jesus’ time people didn’t have banks but protected their wealth by burying it in the ground which meant it rusted over time. Moths fed on clothing as they did old rags. James speaks of it in 5:2. People built their houses of loose stone and sun-dried bricks. It was just as easy for a thief to make a hole through the wall as break down a door. The potential for loss through any of these realities was very high. We can appreciate therefore why Jesus paints a picture of the senselessness of being excessive in acquiring material things that take all one’s energy to protect and guard. It’s a prime recipe for worry.
Jesus teaches us many lessons. He shows us how pointless it is to consume our energies with material things when the longevity of these investments is short and can end as quickly as they begin. How silly to fuss over things that rust, corrode or thieves steal. It’s as ridiculous as giving $1,000 to an addict to keep safe for you.
No matter how Jesus teaches us we can’t help ourselves. We invest, hoard and spend ourselves into debt and if not into debt we spent on things we don’t need. Our problem takes us back to the “no drinking the water” sign and the Ten Commandments. We understand the common sense of “no drinking”. Most of us realise there’s e-coli or other bacteria that could enter the bloodstream, infect us severely and could be deadly. With the Ten Commandments the outcomes are not as clearly spelled out so since we don’t fully understand the value of the instruction in terms of what it can save us from we decide it’s not enough to simple obey them as the wise and loving advice of our heavenly Parent.
The instructions of Jesus create problems for us before we get going. If we don’t fully understand His logic and its relationship to our real-time situations, we tend not to trust it. However, if we are to make investments that outlive life we have to trust that what Jesus says is acceptable even when we don’t fully make sense of it. And in this situation, wisdom suggests we invest in heaven.