THURSDAY 3.16.23 Matthew 6:19-34
19 “Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. 20 Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. 21 Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, 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 terrible that darkness will be! 24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.25 “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? 27 Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. 29 But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. 30 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? 31 Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus' teaching echoed the ancient Hebrew sages’ wisdom: eagerly amassing this world’s “treasures” does not produce a “secure” life (cf. Proverbs 14:22, 21:20). Sadly, many religious leaders in Jesus' day (and since) overlooked that part of their faith. Jesus also made the deeply practical yet often ignored point (verse 27) that worry doesn’t actually solve problems or make our lives any longer or better. Jesus' point wasn’t just spiritual “fluff”--there is research * that validates it.
- Have you ever put money into something “experts” assured you was “secure,” only to watch it prove insecure? So much, fine in itself, can use part of our “treasure”—vacations, all kinds of collectibles, prized possessions, tickets to special events, houses, vehicles, retirement savings. Where is your heart? Do you put as much time and energy into “investing” in God’s heavenly kingdom as into earthly investments and spending options?
- Scholar N. T. Wright said in Jesus' teaching “the point was…priorities. Put the world first, and you’ll find it gets moth-eaten in your hands. Put God first, and you’ll get the world thrown in…. Living totally without worry sounds, to many people, as impossible as living totally without breathing….Here, at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount, is an invitation that surprisingly few people even try to take up.” ** Are you willing to try to take up Jesus' invitation to not worry?
Lord Jesus, you knew a cross waited for you, yet remarkably you spoke of peace, of not worrying. Fill me with your trusting peace in a broken world. Amen.
In case you missed it...
During Lent, we have a weekly video that will help you reflect on the key themes from Words that Changed the World: The Message of Jesus. Pastor Cheryl Bell leads us through this week's video. Click here to watch it on YouTube (or click on the image below).
* Click here to read an article by Don Joseph Goewey about the value of eliminating worry.
** Wright, N.T., Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (The New Testament for Everyone) (pp. 66-67). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
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Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.