Communion Meditation for Nov. 3, 2019
Month of Stewardship, Week Two
Placing Our Trust in God
Matthew 6: 24-33
Rev. Liz Aguilar
Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, UCC
Matthew 6:24-34 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
24 No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 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? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe youyou of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, What will we eat? or What will we drink? or What will we wear? 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
There are many reasons why I love Jesus. Someone once said, and I believe it was theologian, Dallas Willard who said it- that Jesus was the smartest man that ever lived. I agree. But not only was Jesus the smartest man that ever lived, he was also the wisest and most practical as well. He loved generously, was compassionate, caring, forgiving, radically embracing of those considered to be unclean and sinful. Jesus was awesome!
Those are just some of the reasons why I love Jesus. Todays scripture passage points to Jesus wisdom and practicality. Also to His compassion for others.
This is our second week into a month of sermons focusing on the teachings that Jesus shared regarding money. To remind you of why I chose to focus on His teachings this month is to remind all of us that the topic that Jesus taught about the most was actually about money. Therefore, it must have been a pretty important topic to Jesus.
But why? Was it because he was about selling some phony make yourself rich scheme? Was it because he thought money was THEE most important thing in the world? No, it was because He knew that we needed to keep it in its rightful place. We needed to put it in right perspective.
In todays scripture portion we have some of Jesuss most famous sayings. Some of these verses must have sounded very familiar to you. Therefore, if we were to set each verse apart, we could easily spend a whole sermon on each verse. However, today I want us to look at these verses as one whole periscope/ one whole portion, that weaves itself into one main point.
And what is that point? Simply- that we must trust God. NOT putting our total trust in God means that we WILL worry about every else. It means that we WILL make money to be the most important thing in our lives. It WILL also become what we worship the most; what defines us, what keeps us up at night, and what eventually can enslave us.
Jesus knew what the most important commandment was, which was to love God with ALL of our hearts, minds, souls. And then to love others as we love ourselves. Therefore, He understood that putting anything above God would not bring us true happiness and joy. And remember, Jesus wanted us to live abundant, joyful lives.
In this scripture portion, Jesus first tells us not to be anxious, and then provides the rationale:
- God provides for the sparrow, who works but does not worry.
- God, who gave us life, will provide for our needs.
- Our worry is futile; it does not accomplish anything.
- God clothes the flowers beautifully, even though they are of minor importance compared with humansGods sons and daughters created in Gods image. Jesus argues from lesser to greatera common type of reasoning among the Jews of his day.
So, was Jesus saying to me and to others who are not poor like me, dont worry be happy because after all you dont HAVE to worry?
No, not at all. Jesus was not wealthy himself. Nor were his disciples. Jesus had been a carpenter. Some of the disciples would have made decent lives working as tax collectors and/or successful fishermen. And yet, they left everything to follow Jesus.
Jesus was reminding those around him then and us today- that no matter what your station is in life you and I must place worship to God first. When we dont, we allow worries including our worries about money, consume us.
Now, Jesus isnt saying, that we shouldnt care at all and be irresponsible with what we have. No. He was saying that we need to put God first. TRUST God first. Trust that God WILL provide for all of our needs.
There were indeed times when I was not sure how I would pay my rent or my tuition bill. My parents did not pay for my undergraduate degree or graduate degree, after all.
There were times I lived on rice and beans and canned soups. But, I can tell you that despite not having money I was fine and I knew I would be fine later on.
Did I worry, yes. BUT, I never allowed the worry to consume me.
Do I get anxious now- yes. I am human. We all do. However, those of us who put God FIRST and therefore place our full TRUST in God know that when we lack something it does not mean that we will always be lacking. It does not mean that God has abandoned us.
God has proven to you and to me that God is FAITHFUL. That no matter how much we may doubt God, no matter how many times we forget that the God we worship and serve is an all-loving, all generous God- that nothing can or will stop God from providing for our needs. Ever!
Therefore, when we take a step back and look at our lives from the perspective of placing our faith IN God, it is then when we no longer need to fear as much.
It is then, when we can also understand that we can indeed give God the portion that corresponds to God in the offering plate. We can indeed give to the poor and needy. We can indeed go to sleep knowing that God will give us the means and the ways to pay our bills.
I once had a professor who used to tease us students and remind us that while we may wonder how we can pay for tuition or how we can put money in the offering plate that somehow when it was time to go to the movies or go on a date- somehow, we always found the money.
Our decisions about how we spend money follows what we find to be of most importance. Sometimes it is the basics- like food and shelter. However, sometimes what we consider to be essential just isnt.
Jesus was, indeed, the smartest person that ever lived and he knew that we must put God first and in doing so, everything else would follow. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and All His righteousness WILL follow.
As we approach the communion table. May we re-commit ourselves to placing our complete trust in God. May we give God those things that we worry about the most- whether it is about money or about a strained relationship or even our health.
God IS worthy of our trust and of our praise. May we continue to grow in trust and love for God and for one another every day. Amen.