Wednesday 17 August 2016

Bible Book:

“… do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.” (v. 25)

Matthew 6:25-34 Wednesday 17 August 2016

Psalm: Psalm 135:15-21


What does it mean to find your treasure in heaven and to servethe one master - God - with single-minded sincerity? Negatively, itmeans not being consumed by anxiety about the things that you needto stay alive. 'Worry' is a recurrent word in this passage. Infact, six out of its seven occurrences in Matthew's Gospel are inthese verses. Of course there are plenty of situations in whichworry would seem entirely reasonable. But Jesus isn't building up alogical argument here; instead he's using rhetoric to tell hisdisciples that they can, and should, depend on God's abundantprovision. Looking at the world around us, at the birds that flyabove us and the plants that cover the land, it should be apowerful reminder of God's providential care for all creatures. Ifthe world is (to use a phrase from the reformer, John Calvin) thetheatre of God's glory, then  the disciples of Jesus can berelaxed about their basic welfare and focus instead on the kingdomof God. Although the NRSV translation gives us "strive first forthe kingdom of God" (v. 33), that doesn't mean that the disciplesof Jesus are to construct the kingdom through their own efforts. Itdoes mean that they are to nurture a deep and pressing desire forthat kingdom, so that it becomes the very centre of theirexistence. When they do that, says Jesus, everything else will fallinto place.

And what, you might reasonably ask, is this kingdom that Jesustalks about? It is, quite simply, the state of affairs where God'swill is done "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). And how do we know what thatlooks like? The rest of the teaching of Jesus gives us plenty ofclues. The kingdom is a place where enemies are forgiven, theneglected are welcomed and the humble find themselves at thecentre. The lives of outstanding Christians demonstrate that thewords of Jesus can become a reality. Perhaps St Francis, with hisappreciation of God's goodness in creation, his indifference topersonal comfort and his dedication to living out the gospel (iethe good news) of Jesus, gives us the best-known example of puttingthese words of Jesus into action.

To Ponder

  • What are you most anxious about? How might the words of Jesushelp you to deal with anxiety?
  • Spend some time becoming aware of the world around you, ofplants and animals. What do they teach you about the goodness ofGod? 
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