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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
(Part 93)

DEPENDENCE ON GOD

 

March 2, 2014
Today’s gospel: Matthew 6:24-34


People are all so concerned about their lives--what to eat, what to wear, where to live, how to succeed in one’s career. These are among the things people consider important in life. But Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.” (v.25a). Jesus is not saying that these are not important. Unlike birds that do not sow or reap (v.26a), we need to work for a living. Unlike birds that gather nothing into barns (v.26b), we do need to have savings and prudently provide for the future, especially of our children.

But still Jesus persists, “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (v.25b). What is he saying? Jesus is saying that while there are things that are important, there is something even more important. And that is to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (v.33a). People are too focused on material things, missing out on the spiritual dimension. And while we might not notice it, the secular and the spiritual are competing for our attention and allegiance. “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (v.24). God demands total commitment. But the world, supported by our human flesh, prodded by the evil one, also makes its subtle demands. Pretty soon we find ourselves drawn more and more into one camp, and farther away from the other.

What then should be our posture?

Well, we are to know our priorities. God first, everything else second. When we get into this track, then everything else falls into place. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (v.33).

But we also need to understand the ways of God. While the heavenly Father feeds the birds in the sky and considers us more important than they (v.26c), that does not mean we should no longer work. In fact, Paul says that those who do not work do not eat. What Jesus is saying is that we should not worry about these things, to the point of seeking them so much that they detract from our life in God. “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” (v.27). So it is not about not working, but it is about not worrying. God will provide.

Then there is the matter of clothing. Jesus compares the wild flowers and the splendor of Solomon’s clothing (v.28b-29). Now I have seen some awesome wild flower scenes in many parts of the world, but it is not to say that it would be more awesome than the finery of gold and ornate trimmings on Solomon’s garments. What makes the wild flowers trump Solomon’s finery is the beauty of their simplicity. It is the simplicity of what God provides versus the elaborateness of what the world provides. Rather than the expensive things of the world, what we ought to wear is the dignity of a child of God, the purity of one living in Christ, the righteousness of being in the Spirit.

Knowing then that God will provide, we need to put our faith in Him. “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the over tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?” (v.30). In fact, if we do not have such faith in God’s love and provision, then we are no better off than the pagans, who trust only in themselves and their own gods. “All these things the pagans seek.” (v.32a). What then is a primary measure of faith? It is trust in God’s provision. It is knowing that “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (v.32b) and will provide.

So “why are you anxious about clothes?” (v.28a). Why do you “worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’” (v.31). Choose God and not mammon. Choose to trust in His provision rather than worry. Choose the kingdom of God first and foremost. Then we can live a life that is really worthwhile, one not focused on material things, but on higher things. “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” (v.34a).

Worry not about yourself because God provides. Rather, look to what God intends for us to do in this world that is in darkness. “Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (v.34b). Evil and darkness deepen. This is what should concern us. Thus we are about the work of evangelization. And even there, do not worry--about money, about manpower, about the strength of the enemy, about the sacrifices and pain to be endured. God knows what we need. God will provide.

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