For the Love of Money
For the Love of Money
Matthew 6:24-34 T Trinity 15
The things we love cause us anxiety and worry. We want to make sure we hold on to the things we love, because we imagine we wouldn’t be able to bear life without them. We don’t want to lose them, so we grasp onto them at all cost. So, when it seems like the things we love escape our grasp, we panic. We have inner turmoil and our rightly ordered soul seems to flip upside down. We lose comfort, we lose peace, and overtime, we lose hope.
These things that cause us anxiety and worry can become idolatrous. As always, Jesus comes to free us all of our idols. Whether our idols deal with sexual immorality, greed, covetousness, or hatred – you name it – Jesus has come to reestablish Himself to man’s sinful heart as THE true God. The God who loves you, and would even give of Himself to you. He’s the God who isn’t trying to evade you or escape your grasp, unlike the other gods the sin-filled human heart attaches allegiance to. Yet the Triune God’s scriptural promises reign true – “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I AM your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10).
When Jesus points out the idols of our hearts, we shouldn’t fear. We shouldn’t retreat. We shouldn’t ignore it, and go about our merry way. We should acknowledge that the Word of the Lord is indeed working on our hearts, and Jesus is trying to reestablish Himself at the center of our lives.
One of the idols Jesus comes to free us of this morning is money. We’re instructed from our crucified, yet Risen Savior – “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.” Then Jesus goes into what the lack of money causes: worry. Anxiety.
How do we feel when money escapes our grasp? Do we worry? Do we feel anxiety? I’m sure most, if not all of us, feel this sort of anxiety when we see money leaving our grasp. Especially today! Inflation is the highest its been in my adult life, phone calls are made to the church often enough asking if we help with utility bills, and our food pantry numbers set records for people served just about every month. In the conversations that I have people getting food at our food pantry, you can see the anxiety in their eyes. And of course, this isn’t true of just them – but us too. People everywhere are feeling money’s tight grip on their soul. And it reveals the truth about our relationship with money: we’re hardly content with what we have. We want more. Because we want more security for the future.
How beautiful are Jesus’ words in today’s context: “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?”
Here, Jesus isn’t saying don’t have jobs and sort of free range it like the birds. We do need to work for a living. That’s mankind’s curse in Genesis 3 – that we will eat by the sweat of our brow. But He is saying, STOP WORRYING. Don’t be anxious! Because anxiety doesn’t add ANYTHING to your life. Rather, anxiety subtracts from your life. Don’t be so imprisoned to what you don’t have, that you miss out on what you do have. Don’t be so worried looking a week, a month, a year, 10 years into the future, that you miss out on giving God thanks for the DAILY BREAD He sets out right before you.
If you’re the one who drives everywhere in your family, here’s a good analogy for you. I’m the driver between Rachel and I. And so when I drive, I’m singularly concentrated on the road. I’m looking forward, making sure no deer jump out, or I don’t hit some tire in the road, or I evade crazy drivers! Since I’m concentrated on these worries, I’m never really freed from those worries to just stare out the window to appreciate God’s creation, to meditate on the little things God gives, like the beauty of my surroundings, or the animals in the forest, or even my full attention I could give to Rachel.
Being enslaved to money and the things of this life do the same thing – it causes you to miss out on the good things God has given right in front of you – like your kids, your spouse, God’s creation, a house, food, drink, clothes, shoes.
Anxiety ultimately fails to recognize God as the giver of our daily bread. If we truly love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and trust in His providence, we will never lack. Even if we have $0 in the bank account and beg on the street for food, we won’t have lack. For our Lord has also given this promise: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” And to this end, our Savior gives this admonition: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Freed from your idols, depart from here and recognize the good things God has given you. Go love your children. Go love your spouses. Just let go of your worry and anxiety over that leaky roof or that split board on the back porch for just a moment, and give thanks to God for all the things He’s given you, even the small things that often go unnoticed. Because this is what it means to have a heart that serves God – it recognizes that God, not money, gives your daily bread.
Jesus comes to free us from our earthly worries – what we will wear, eat, or live. But Jesus has also freed us from our eternal worries too. Am I worthy enough to approach the throne of grace? Is my sin too great to ever become repentant? Is my repentance truly meaningful and genuine?
Come to our refuge and strength, Jesus Christ our Lord, and He will care for you. His sacrificial cross has taken care of your sin’s guilt and shame. You need not worry about your eternal life with the Father, because you’re covered by the love of His beloved Son. You consume His body and blood which frees you from your worry, anxieties, and idols. God has kept His earthly promises to you. Likewise, He will keep His eternal ones too: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16.
He’s not come to hurt you, or burden you. His yoke is easy and burden is light. He’s come to give you relief in the fruit of the cross, now poured out into this cup, given FOR YOU for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus calls us to release our anxieties and idols, especially the grip of money. Worrying subtracts joy from our lives, and blinds us to God’s daily blessings. Trust in God’s providence, seek His kingdom, and He’ll provide what we need. In this, Jesus not only frees us from earthly worries but also from eternal concerns through His sacrifice. So, depart from here recognizing and pondering God’s gifts. Love your family, cherish your blessings, and let go of worries. Trust in His promises; He’s kept earthly ones and will surely keep eternal ones.