Matthew 6: 24, 25: “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.
This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?
There are two things from this passage that the Holy Spirit brought to my attention:
- Worry is the root that turns us into slaves of money. When we begin to worry that our incomes are not enough for us, we tend to shift our focus on how we can get more income, we look to get more jobs, get ourselves busy with working more, and eventually our focus shifts towards being a slave to money and being devoted to it. “Money” becomes our master. We become its slave (=a bond-servant, excessively dependent or controlled by it).
- Worry changes the order of priority: we focus more on the food than on life (in light of eternity!!) and we focus more on the clothes we wear than on the body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.”
There are so many of us today who are caught up in the daily mundane run of the mill things in life. We worry about how we can make ends meet, we worry about our life- if we will be able to afford a good house or a car or provide good education for our children. Or perhaps we have bought ourselves a good house or a good car on loan, and we drive ourselves to pay off that debt- we slave it out to pay off the money and become bond-servants to money in the process. We get grumpy and irritable. We get upset when anyone “disturbs” our schedule or lifestyle. We pride ourselves in the way we have divided our day into, “I, me, myself, my family” activities.
Some of us worry about the kind of food we eat. Or perhaps we worry if we can afford a good vacation with our family. We worry, worry, worry. Worry eats into our hearts and minds like cancer.
How can we focus our attention on the Lord with single minded devotion (=commitment, steadfastness, loyalty, love, faithfulness) when our minds and our hearts are worn out by stress fueled by worry? We will never be able to read the Bible deeply and pray effectively because our minds and hearts wander. Worry has taken authority over them as a master! Our time with the Lord goes limp. Our devotion to Him becomes slack. Our daily conversations are more on the finances and the things we are doing to get more than on what the Lord has spoken into our hearts and minds that morning! Our time with the Lord is pushed to a corner and boxed into a few minutes of the day as part of the agenda, if He is fortunate to get those crumbs, that is! Or some days we begin the day without Him and say, “He understands!!” We begin to celebrate the money we make than the Maker who provides. We take God out of the equation.
In Matthew 6: 26-31, God is in effect saying, SLOW DOWN! Go out into the open and LOOK (=direct your gaze to see and understand something). Do you see the birdies? They have no bank deposits and loans. They have no savings. They live for the day, with no worries for God always directs them to food or the food to them. Feel the flowers. Smell them. Run your fingers through them and gaze at them in awe- for though they last only a few days, God clothes them so finely. Even King Solomon, the greatest king that ever lived, did not have such splendor as the wild flowers of the field.
We live in a culture driven by money and success that such admiration of birds and flowers seem foolish and a waste of time. We are so driven by the things of this world that the things of God have begun to look strange and laughable.
Oh may this truth sink deep into our hearts today: God is our provider! He wants us to relax and not be so preoccupied on the getting so we may respond to His giving.