"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Matthew 6 -- Warnings & Being Worry-Free

"See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." ~ Mt. 6:28,29

Matthew 6 contains a number of warnings:

  • Don't do your acts of righteousness to be seen of men
  • When you give to the needy, do it secretly rather than drawing attention to yourself
  • The same with praying -- no need for showy prayers to impress the masses with your piety
  • Don't babble on and on and on thinking your words are impressing God
  • Forgive others so God will forgive you
  • Anoint yourself, wash and look pleasant when you fast -- there is no need to draw attention to yourself by looking as if you are miserable
  • Don't store up earthly treasure which molds, rusts, and gets stolen -- you cannot serve both God and Money

A few mentionables from this passage for me:

If I seek to please God rather than men, I can do good things without the need for drawing attention to what I'm doing. I don't have to say "Hey, y'all, look at me! See how much I gave to this charity last week? See how proper I am in doing my prayers? Annnnnd how many times per day that I do them? See?"

Ah no, that's not necessary when you seek the approval of The One -- and no one else.

Jesus said to store up heavenly treasure so that got me to thinking "what is heavenly treasure?" and "how do I store it?" Could it be the rewards from God that Jesus mentions in this passage (vs. 4, 18)? Rewards from God could be heavenly treasure. What do you think?

It's also interesting that Jesus mentions heavenly treasure, warns us against accumulating corruptible earthly treasure and then declares no one can serve two masters, one of those being Money. Does he know the tendencies of the human heart or what? How many of us have much more stuff than we really need? Furthermore in verse 25 he instructs us not to worry about our lives and what we will eat or drink and what we will wear. He reminds us of the birds of the air, the flowers in the fields and how God cares for both. In fact Jesus says not even Solomon in all his kingly splendor was as dressed as a beautiful lily!

The birds don't worry and fret. The flowers don't wonder if God will be faithful in providing today. Jesus told us we are more important to our Father than these things and we don't need to worry!

He tells us to first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And if we recall lessons we've learned in past weeks about righteousness being a state of our being declared right BY GOD, we know this is a great place to be! A great gift!

In fact Jesus says when we seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, "all these things will be given to us."

So instead of worrying about material things, we need to change our priorities: seek God's kingdom and trust Him to do what He promised. Paul writes in Philippians 4:19,

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."


Sarah said...

Beautiful pics!

I always wondered what he meant about all these things would be given to us. Did he really think God would intervene in circumstances and ensure our material needs were always met, or was it more a matter of relying on people's provisions? I wonder if he lived now and saw the large-scale poverty across the world, would he still say this?

Thought-provoking... hmm!

Susanne said...

I'm glad you like the pictures. I thought a post mentioning lilies and sparrows should have something more than words. :)

I do believe God takes care of our needs whether that's by supernatural ways such as manna from heaven or ravens feeding us as they did the prophet Elijah or a friend or stranger sending us money or food at just the right time.

I see how being a "rich" American could detract from the message since it's easy for ME to say compared to some poor starving soul in Africa. Just the same, I still worry about things so the message is for me as well as for others in the world who worry more than trust.

Thanks for your comment.:)

Carmen said...

"Don't babble on and on and on thinking your words are impressing God"

I especially love listening to my children pray for this very reason. Their sincere words and simplicity are quite refreshing. I love it!

Susanne said...

So true, Carmen! I love that also! :)

Amber said...

First, I agree with Sarah. Very pretty pictures. :)

Again, it's so counter to our nature to do things for others and not expect at least the praise and acknowledgment of others! I think we want people to see what we've done so that they can understand that we're nice, kind, giving, Christian people. But, if we *are* these things, then we don't need to tell them, or have them know that we did x, y, z. They'll know it just from interacting with us. :)

The worrying and fretting about where our next meal, clothes, etc. comes from is a side effect of being human, though. We can't help it. We worry because we're self aware on a level that the birds aren't.

Susanne said...

Yes, I agree that we are more aware than the birds...as far as I can tell anyway. (Who knows what they really discuss as they fly and nest.)

That's why I don't always like the Potter/Clay analogy. I understand it in a sense, but I have hurts and feelings and emotions unlike lifeless clay. Thanks for mentioning that.

Glad you liked the pictures. :)