Jesus’ Response To Materialism: “Life is more than food, and the body more than clothing”


 

Matthew 6:25-27 (ESV)

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

How many hours a week do you spend worrying? Think about it. You wake up in the morning to an alarm, drag yourself out of bed to get ready for school all the while remembering that you have a 6 hour shift at work afterwards. On your way out the door you begin to worry about your test results (since you’ve been failing a certain subject). You forget to study for that Trig test and spend your lunch break in your books and forgetting about your food. There is an enormous pressure to be sucessful, and the more you put on your plate the more pressure you feel: you want to quit and just give up.

Maybe you aren’t in school. Perhaps you’re married. You have a list of things to get done: spend more time with the kids. Remember to drop of so-and-so at practice. Start saving up for Christmas presents. Listen more. Be more involved. etc. You spend your days worrying about your kids futures, how you’re going to pay off the debt. The pressure to provide not only stresses you, but your marriage. Meeting fellow believers on Sundays has become more of a habit and a tradition.

 Yet Jesus’ words puts a needle to the balloon of our little world: He tells us to look out at those things and realize life is more than and not equal to the things we possess. In other words, your value as a person is not equivalent to how much you paid for something. But isn’t that what we do? We work to improve our castle, not realizing that we have a home in the heavens. Christ told a man who wanted his brother to divide a part of the inheritance that desiring possessions greedily is equivalent to covetousness: Luke 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The Apostle Paul says that covetousness is “idolatry” (Col. 3:5).

Worrying places the power of achievement and provision in the wrong hands. It confuses God’s blessing of a work with our work: it makes us responsible for the wrong thing. There are several more things Jesus tells us to help us get a proper view of possessions. So, my challenge to you is to think on these things. Paul told Timothy, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” (2 Tim. 2:7). There is one word to help us in understanding what Jesus is saying and not saying here: The word is context. To know what Jesus means by “do not worry,” we must look at the sermon on the mount as a sermon, not a bunch of verbal pieces.

The connection here to help us find the context is found in the word, “therefore”. Each time you see it, ask this question: “what is the ‘therefore’ there for?”. The word “therefore” is a word that connects the following statement with the previous. In other words, “In light of what I said, here is what this means.”

The “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious” is connected with the previous verse:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (v. 24)

Jesus is saying that you become anxious about your life when you’re serving money instead of God. The word translated “money” in the ESV is actually the word “Mammon”. This word describes not only money but possessions. When you begin serving something other than God, you commit not only idolatry, but you lose fellowship and peace with God. God promises to give us His peace by devoting ourselves to prayer (Phil. 4:8), but if we serve things other than God, our hope of heaven is turned into heaven on earth, and the anxiety is found in trying to turn temporal life here into eternity.

So, the first answer is that we need to get back into the mind set of serving God. “Whether you eat, drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)

The second answer is to understand that it’s more than an outward problem, it’s a heart problem. And the answer to anxiety is to change where your investing your life, whether it’s with the family, school, marriage, or job.

 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (v. 19-21)

Is the purpose for your family to provide for them materially, but not invest in them spiritually? Is the purpose for your job to earn a living, or to be a witness? Is the purpose for your marriage to glorify God and enjoy each other from that, or to make each other your source of joy? Where are you storing up your treasure? You need to have both, but which one takes importance over the other? “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (v. 21)

Take time this week to invest time in your walk with God, and to seek Him to help you through the grit of day to day life. The answer to anxiety is a heart after God, and to be rooted in knowing ultimately the purpose of your life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. And that we wait for a home to come, with Jesus.

Until next time,

God Bless and stay strong.

Austin Thompson

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