Thursday, August 20, 2009

Matthew 6:31-34 Get Your Priorities Straight

In this economy, people are worried about losing their jobs or losing pay at their jobs. I know of at least two people who had to take unpaid time off at work against their will. I would feel pretty confident in saying that most everyone knows someone that has lost a job in the past year or so. It’s safe to assume that there are people worried about their personal finances and being able to take care of themselves. However, as Christians we can have victory over this anxiety because of the promises of Christ. While He did not promise that we would be rich or even well off necessarily, He does promise God’s care and protection as we read in these verses.

Jesus summarizes the line of thought began in verse 25 in verse 31. The long and short of it is contained in the first 3 words of verse 31 where He says “Do not worry”. It’s pretty easy to sit here and type that but it hasn’t’ always been easy to do it. However, as we read the preceding verses, we see why we shouldn’t worry. God is going to take care of us. He takes care of birds. He takes care of flowers. It is therefore certainly reasonable for us to trust that He is going to take care of us. Because of that, we don’t have to make acquiring the necessities of life (food, water, clothing) our priority.

In fact, our witness to this lost and dying world demands our distinctiveness in this matter. As Matthew records in verse 32, Jesus observed that the people of the world “eagerly seek all these things”. In fact, the headlines over the past 5 or 6 years attest to the fact that some people will do just about anything to enrich themselves. Enron, Worldcom, and the Madoff scandal are prime examples of greed. We read in the paper and hear on the new about robberies and shootings all the time. The Lord Jesus says that these people aren’t just seeking material possessions casually but “eagerly”. There is intensity to their search. Christians, however, should have a different mindset. We have the promise of God’s word that our “heavenly Father knows [we] need all these things”. Therefore, because He is our heavenly Father and He knows the things we need to live, we can trust Him to provide those things we need.

Because of this knowledge, we are free to not have to worry about how we’re going to take care of ourselves and we can make serving God and living for His glory our main priority. As Jesus says in verse 33, we are to “seek first” the kingdom of our Father. Our primary priority is not getting stuff to shove in our pie holes or cover our selves with. Our primary priority is glorifying God in all we do. In doing so, we don’t display our own righteousness which is just like filthy rags anyway. We seek “His righteousness” because we recognize our moral bankruptcy. In doing so, our lives will look different. We won’t be chasing after getting stuff like the rest of the world. We won’t have to compromise our integrity to try to get ahead or just to get what we think we need. We can be contented in the fact that when we serve God as our first priority “all these things will be added to [us]”. We, therefore, have no need to worry.

Further, because we have the assurance of God’s providential care of us as His children, we should not only rest in His care today but, as Jesus tells us, “don’t worry about tomorrow”. Why? Because, beyond reasonable precautions for things that we can reasonably expect and plan ahead for (putting gas in the car the night before you go to work so you won’t run out, putting aside a little money in a “cookie jar” fund for unexpected emergencies) there are a myriad of things that we can’t anticipate. Since He takes care of us today, we can assume He will take care of us tomorrow. Each day, Jesus notes, will have things in it that we have to concern ourselves with and devote our attention to as we go along. We should focus our mind on the present (didn’t Yoda say that) and not worry about tomorrow. We have enough to handle today.


Anonymous said...

Take no thought for tomorrow. Sufficient for the day are the evils thereof. I believe that's one translation of that verse. I've loved that verse from the first time I read it! Thanks for the "sermon". Love your expositions!

Joe Blackmon said...


I think that maybe the NKJV. Does that sound right?

Thanks for the encouragement.