Bible Text: Matthew 6:24-34 | Preacher: Rev. Mark Buetow | Series: 2015
The question is: Is your heavenly Father going to take care of you or isn’t he? Is He going to give you your daily bread or not? Is He going to make sure you have food and clothing or isn’t He? Jesus thought He’d be just fine. Do you ever see or hear Jesus worrying about money? Jesus just went around living like He would always have something to eat, something to wear, some place to stay. Jesus’ heart was never divided. He only ever desired to do the Father’s will. And he was confident His Father would provide for Him. And He did. Do you ever see Jesus hungry or thirsty or naked? Well, actually, yeah, we do. Good Friday. Calvary. Naked. Thirsty. His clothes were given away. Nothing but a sponge of sour wine to sip. What happened? Just this: by giving His Son into nakedness, and thirst, and death, your heavenly Father is making a promise that He will always feed and clothe you because He has first made sure your were righteous. The Lord has first made sure your sins are taken away. Christ has saved you from death and hell and, until He comes again, His Father and our Father’s promise to you is that He will provide what you need for this body and life.
So therefore you can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve God and mammon. You don’t NEED to! God’s got you covered. But, oh don’t we try! The love of money and the worry about money are doubly bad. First of all, worrying about money and loving money so much that it consumes us is that it has become a god we serve. Go to school so you can get an education. Why? So you can get a job. Why? So you can have money. Why? So your parents don’t have to support you your whole life and they’ll have money again! When I have enough money, then I’m happy, and grateful for having money. When I don’t have enough, then I love it and wish I had more and I’m grumpy and I pout and yell at people. Which means making mammon your god is not only idolatry, it’s bad for your neighbor. When we worry, we’re no help to others. “Yeah, yeah, I know you need help, but MY problems are way worse!” “Sure, I’d like to help, but you know, things are kind of tight right now.” How many of you have worried about how you’re going to pay a particular bill or be able to pay a bill and still buy something you want? But how many of us ever work hard to figure out how we can support our church? Or take care of something that someone ELSE needs? I’ve wracked my brain figuring out a way to scrape together enough money to buy this awesome thing I want, but I don’t seem to work that hard to figure out how I’m going to support my congregation, or get what my kids need, or help someone out. This sort of worry and mammon loving just exposes what’s in our hearts: idolatry. Selfishness. Greed. Sin. No, we can’t serve God and mammon. But we try. Help us, Lord! Teach us to repent and trust in you for all that we need.
Now, when faced with the stark reality of your sinful worrying and mammon loving, you need to be certain God won’t hold that against you. That’s where your baptism comes in. Worried about what to wear? In Baptism, Christ has clothed you! A robe of His righteousness. Worried about where you next meal will come from? Here’s His body and blood to eat and drink. These gifts are promises. They are promises that God doesn’t hold your sins against you. It’s His promise that for Jesus’ sake, who died and rose, that even when you love other stuff more than Him, He still loves you completely, and forgives you and calls you back to Himself. And these are His promises that what Jesus says about birds and lilies is true too. Your heavenly Father takes care of all of them. He’ll take care of you, too. Wasn’t it amazing that Elijah dared to tell a widow what to do with her last bit of oil and flour? Yet the Lord took care of her. Took care of Elijah. He takes care of you, too. Even with our doubts and faithlessness, the Lord is faithful. The cross says so. The empty tomb says so. The water, Word and Supper say so. The widow reminds us. The birds and lilies do too. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.