by Duane Maust
Matthew 6: 19-34
February 10, 2008
Several weeks ago Elaine talked about money and how it is a part of our faith. She talked about the good news about money. The money we have is God’s to begin with. This sermon today could be considered a continuation from her sermon.
We see how Zacchaeus was changed and how it affected his money. When we live our lives right with God, things change. It changes how we hold our assets. When Jesus made a difference in Zacchaeus’s life, his money went different places. He was not worried about staking it up for himself. He wanted to do what was fair.
Today I wanted something on the table to be an example of what I am talking about. I noticed Nathan’s big jar full of pennies. What good is that jar to Nathan today? It may help him someday. But he saved that up and now it just sits there and gets dusty on his old dresser. When I asked him if I could bring it today, he said maybe he should be doing something with it.
Read Matt. 6: 19-21.
I have more examples of rust and moth activity. My first car was a Chevy Nova 1971. I had that car when I moved to Mississippi. It was a good car till the rust ate through the bottoms of the doors and the bottoms of the fenders.
Last fall I was headed to Colorado to a meeting and to visiting. I thought I had my cycle in good shape. But these bearings I have on the table in the little sack are an example of earthly things falling apart. There were bearings all through that engine in Oklahoma. The rental car and Elaine helped me out of that dilemma.
We all have our things around us. We need to know that they are not what we are living for. They are temporary. They do not last as long as what we think they may.
As I was trying to put my thoughts together on this subject. I thought about my retirement plans. Am I just trying to pile up wealth and trust my future in it? We need to prepare for the future but we need to be building our heavenly assets up.
How can you build assets in heaven? Are you living for God or just for yourself? Do you have time to help other people out? This can be helping them in physical or spiritual ways. Are you concerned about helping people feel and know the love of Jesus?
In Jesus’ day, some people who lived where the wise men came from, they had fine and elaborate clothes to show their wealth. When they had expensive clothes, they would often put them in storage and have moths get into them. Then what were they worth with one or two holes in them? Nothing. They are junk.
I keep some corn in the shed for my wildlife project. (Deer) If I leave it too long the mice and weevils get in it and mess it up. Its value goes down. So many things that we try to pile up will eventually be destroyed.
In the Barclay Commentary he says, “Jesus warns them against the pleasures, which will wear out like an old suit of clothes. The finest garment in the world, moths or no moths, will in the end disintegrate. All purely physical pleasures have a way of wearing out. At each successive enjoyment of them the thrill becomes less thrilling. It requires more of them to produce the same effect. They are like a drug which loses its initial potency and which becomes increasingly less effective. A man is a foolish man who finds his pleasures in things, which are bound to offer diminishing returns. Any one whose happiness depends on things like that is doomed to disappointment. Any man whose treasure is in things is bound to lose his treasure, for in things there is no permanence and no thing last forever.”
A Spanish proverb says it this way: there are no pockets in a shroud. (a shroud is a piece of cloth that they wrap around a corpse.)
Jesus did not teach that money is evil. Money has many uses, some good and some bad. Jesus did condemn the life-style that devotes itself to accumulating wealth instead of serving God. It is the love of money, not money itself, which is the root of evil. 1 Tim. 6:10
It is easy to worry about our stuff if we let our priorities get wrong. If we let our possessions get ahead of our relationship to God, we can become a worrywart.
Read Matt. 6: 25-29.
These flowers I have on the table have not worried about anything. In fact, Elaine or I have not worried about them either. They just grow by themselves. They are daffodils. They sat in the dry lawn last summer and had traffic over them and they still bloom like this. If God can do that for these flowers, think about what he can do for you. Think about how much more God cares about you than this flower. Jesus came to this world for you. He did not come for the flower.
I read that the rich worry about losing what they have. The poor worry about what they don’t have. The old worry about facing death. The young worry about facing life. We all are inclined to worry at times. Are we not?
Here are some interesting quotes about worrying:
“Blessed is the man who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.”
“A problem not worth praying about is not worth worrying about.”
“Why pray when you can worry?”
“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”
“The only place perpetual worry will get you to ahead of time is the cemetery.”
We need not worry. These verses should help see that point. Three times in this passage Jesus said, “Do not worry.” (vv. 25, 31, 34)
He gave us seven reasons why we should not worry. Pick out each reason and state it in your own words why not worry. (vv. 25, 26, 27, 28-30, 32, 33, 34)
If you need more reasons not to worry, you can come and talk to me after church.
Jerry Shirley said,
40% of what we worry will never happen
30% has already happened
12% is unfounded criticism from others
10% is our health
8% is actual problems we have to do something about
That means 92% of worry is useless! And worrying about the 8% didn’t help the situation one bit!
I like the way Paul puts it in Philippians 4:12: “I have learned the secret of being content… whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.”
I sense that Paul did not worry. He knew God was there on his side, standing there with him.
Read Matt. 10:29-31
How important are we if God knows even the hairs on our heads? None of us even know that. Some of us it is getting easier to count.
What causes you the most worry?
What is God saying to you through this passage today about your particular worry or disappointment?
Ps. 37:5 NRSV Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Anxiety may be overcome by putting our trust in God, turning our cares over to the Lord, and thanking God in advance for the answers to our request.
Dear God, take the anxiety and control it for us. Thank you for providing the daily needs in our lives.