Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 4:1-13
Lesson: Isaiah 49:8-16a
Psalm: Psalm 115:(1-8) 9-18
CLB Pastors Network – Rev. Dale Hanson
These words of Jesus again remind us of the wonderful Savior he is; his words are filled with wisdom and comfort. He put the worries of this life, which we are so prone to be occupied with, in perspective. It doesn’t really matter if we are rich or poor we all seem to be driven to collect earthly treasures therefore Jesus reminds us that it is only heavenly treasures that are lasting and eternal. Notice the number of rhetorical questions Jesus asks to make his point. I love that clear, simple, commonsense proverb he states in conclusion (how many times have we not gone back to is) Take one day at a time!
It is not so much that Jesus is encouraging irresponsibility and laziness by pointing out that all the birds and flowers are taken care of by their heavenly Father but that we are to entrust our daily needs to him. He who has taken care of our greatest need, forgiveness and salvation, can also be depended on to care for our daily needs. Can we not trust him for all of our daily needs?
Quotes from Luther’s writings on this text: “Even if a man had all the riches of this world, he would nonetheless not for a moment be assured against death.”
To put it briefly, God wants people to work. It is true, of course, that God could support you without work, could let fried and boiled foods, corn, and wine grow on the table for you. But He will not do this. He wants you to work and to use your reason in this matter. He gives us wool, letting it grow for us on the sheep. But the wool is not immediately converted into cloth. We must work it up to make cloth of it. When the cloth is there, it does not promptly become a coat. First the tailor must make it. And so on; in everything God acts in such a way that He will provide, but we should work.
You should keep worrying and working apart . . . worrying is forbidden; working is prescribed. For the birds fly about before our eyes. We may well take off our hats to them and say: I must confess that I do not possess the ability you possess. You sleep in your little nest at night without any worry. In the morning you arise, are joyous and of good cheer, sit on a tree and sing, praise, and thank God. Then you go in search of your food and find it. For shame! Why have I, old fool that I am, not learned to do the same thing–I, who have so much reason to do so? And yet we cannot stop this shameful worrying.
References: The Lutheran Study Bible and the three volume set of What Luther Says complied by Ewald M. Plass.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
“In v.24 Jesus explains that behind the choice between two treasures (treasures in heaven and treasures on earth) there lies the still more basic choice between two masters… Both God and Money are portrayed, not as employers, but as slave owners. A man may work for two employers; but since single ownership and full time service are of the essence of slavery, he cannot serve two slave owners. Either God is served with a single-eyed devotion, or he is not served at all. Attempts at divided loyalty betray, not partial commitment to discipleship, but deep-seated commitment to idolatry.”
Carson, D.A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: With The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.
Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel
“Will God nourish birds and forget his own children? Here again the keyword ‘your heavenly Father’ appears. The cure for all hypocrisy (v. 2-18) and for all self-deception is this: that we keep our eyes upon this Father. Though he made the birds and feeds them, he is in the relation of a ‘Father’ only to us who are his children in Christ Jesus. To us he is far more than he is to the birds.”
Lenski, C.H., Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943.
The NIV Application Commentary – Matthew
“Jesus’ reasoning culminates in the famous directive, ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.’ This climactic admonition draws the listeners back to the key verse of the sermon, where Jesus declared, ‘Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven’ (5:20). The use of the imperative ‘seek’ does not mean to look for something not present, for Jesus has already announced the arrival of the kingdom. In this context it means that his disciples are to make the kingdom of heaven the center of their continual, daily priorities. They have already entered the kingdom of heaven and are to live with that reality, drawing on God’s ordering of their daily lives. In doing so they will ‘seek… his righteousness.’”
Wilkins, M.J., The NIV Application Commentary – Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.