Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thursday of Trinity 11

Let Jesus Worry about It

Matthew 6:24-34 (ESV) Jesus says, “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? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But 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.”
There are two ways of dealing with anxiety in life. Either we can try to eliminate worries by our own efforts, or let Jesus takes our anxieties from us. The Jesus answer to worry is found in Matthew 6:24-34. It is tempting to make this text into just another practical program for reducing worry in our lives, but the Jesus approach is far more radical. Over against all the momentary fixes that you apply to your problems in this life with practical advice and self-help philosophies, Jesus comes to you with the all-encompassing solution to all of your worries: He presents Himself. The One speaking in Matthew 6 is the one who has fulfilled all of the words of that same text. He wipes out any grounds for you to worry at all by pointing you to Himself as your Savior and by bestowing His eternal life-giving righteousness upon you.
In His Incarnation, the Son of God entered the stressful, anxious existence of toil we live in. He endured hunger, homelessness, and hatred from others, but through it all, He did not sin; unlike us, Jesus never wondered how He would pay the bills, nor did He anxiously sweat about tracking down His favorite food or drink to satisfy His cravings for earthly pleasure. He did not fret about whether He would have clothing on His back, nor did He worry about whether anyone thought He would look strange in a certain outfit. He did not stress about stretching His paycheck just to get by, nor did He worry about fluctuations in His retirement account. He did not worry about having the best medical care possible, and in fact, He didn’t worry a bit about His own well-being as He laid down His life on the cross for you.
All of the worries and cares that we sinfully fret about, Jesus did not. Instead, He lived by perfect faith in God, His Father and yours, who generously gives His creatures the necessities of life even before you think to ask. And then after Christ lived a life of perfect faithfulness in your place, the Lily of the Field, Jesus was thrown into the oven to be burned up for all of your sin, for all of your worries and cares and faithlessness. On the cross His life was consumed by God’s wrath against your guilt. He took the penalty you owed. He died so that you who are so obsessed with the day to day cares of life might be saved from eternal cares, so that you would not be dragged to hell by your sins.
The biggest anxiety for all of us should come as we face up to God and give an account of how we have used our lives. In the light of the Last Judgment and eternity, our day-to-day worries should melt away as we grow anxious under the demands of a holy and righteous God who expects unwavering faith and faithfulness from us.
But look at the freedom of Jesus, your Savior from death and hell! He had no concern for accumulating possessions and pleasures but knew that the Father would provide all that He needed, so He freely entered the oven of God’s burning wrath against your sin, so that you might be spared and saved for eternal life.
Baptized and believing in Jesus, you are saved for resurrected eternal life with Him, because Jesus did not remain burned up and dry in the tomb. On the third day, God the Father sent His vivifying Spirit to breathe life back into that Man, who has now ascended to the right hand of God and constantly intercedes for all of you. When you are anxious, remember that your Savior Jesus has His Father’s ear, and He assures you that the Father cares compassionately for you, even before you think to ask, and now all that is left to do with your lives is to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” If there is any passage in the Bible that sums up the work we Christians are to do, this is it. Seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Kingdom of God and His righteousness is now all that really matters in this life, because it is what assures us of eternal life forever, and King Jesus is the one telling us that we don’t have to be anxious today because He cares for us.
Prayer: Eternal God, You counsel us not to be anxious about earthly things. Keep alive in us a proper yearning for those heavenly treasures awaiting all who trust in Your mercy, that we may daily rejoice in Your salvation and serve You with constant devotion; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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