The song on the radio said it pretty well, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” The song talked about a few of the misfortunes many people face with relationships, work, and family, for example. And the song kept up the refrain in the face of these things: “Don’t worry. Be happy.”
I do not believe this was behind Jesus teaching in our text. He was not encouraging mindlessness. Jesus was pointing His followers to something of true and lasting value. GOD!
Jesus made His point by citing the animals of the field and the plants that grew therein. They didn’t work hard to accumulate stuff, yet God clothed them with the finest things—things of beauty. Jesus reasoned that the nation of the world (that is, pagan nations and peoples) seek after these things. In verse 31 He makes His point: “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”
We have often heard the words of the first three Commandments: No other gods, Don’t misuse God’s name, and Remember the Sabbath Day.” Here Jesus provides incentive for obedience—a pay-off, if you will: “These things will be added to you.”
Jesus gave explanation in the final verses of our reading: Confident faith is possible. The outcome of this faith is eternal life through Jesus Christ and His cross-bought merits! God our heavenly Father knows our every need and supplies them according to His gracious will.
We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, it is no top-ten ditty that we consider here. You are our truest and most valuable treasure because You gave Your life as the ransom price for our sin-ravaged souls, and then rose victorious even over death and the grave! Help us always to consider You our greatest treasure by giving us Your Spirit! In Your gracious name we pray. Amen.
Posted on August 11, 2019 5:51 AM
It is a common enough human malady—to be like the rich man in Jesus’ parable. From early childhood on we often seem to desire more potatoes and gravy, a bigger piece of pie, a cold drink on a hot day—and indeed, there is nothing wrong with any of these things. It’s when they become the driving force in our lives that we discover that we are in dangerous territory. The rich man in Jesus’ passable discovered this.
Our reading doesn’t tell us exactly what happened to the man—Jesus leaves our imaginations to fill in those blanks. The idea remains that the man died and his estate was left to others. What he had striven to build up went to others, and he received no benefit.
I would like to think that I am “rich toward God,” but I know that deep down inside it isn’t so. I still dream of a special vacation, a certain easy chair, even a comfortable bed. These are some of the things that get between me and God. The things I deem important become foolish and even futile as I pursue them. So, how is it with you?
Jesus tells us that we should be “rich toward God.” In our sins and our sinfulness, we aren’t and can never be “rich toward God.” Instead, we find ourselves foolish, selfish, jealous, and unkind toward others. And that is just the beginning of the litany of our sins. We need help.
God Himself gives us that help. He sent Jesus to suffer and die in our place, and He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to bring us into this saving faith. Jesus is the divine solution to that common human malady called sin. Even though we may be poor, miserable sinners we have a Savior—a Friend who will save us and welcome us into His heavenly home!
So, we pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit to bring us into this saving faith. Enable us to overcome the temptation to sin and to cling to Jesus as Savior and follow Him as Lord! In His name we pray. Amen.
Posted on August 04, 2019 5:08 AM
It hasn’t changed. Most fathers will strive to give their children what they need. My dad was that way. I hope that my sons will consider me in the same light. But I will be the first to admit that sometimes I didn’t have a clue as to what my sons were requesting. (I sometimes think that is still the case—even though my sons are now much older and more mature.) Still, the image persists in my mind.
So, how is it with you?
I know how it is with God. He is the ultimate loving Father. He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish, but receive eternal life. Jesus described His Father’s love this way: “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Here is the “why” of it all—besides God knowing what we need as well as what we want, He has the wherewithal to do, give, and be what we need; and this is truly a beautiful thing!
Fancy words and refined expressions don’t matter that much. Physical posture or activities can’t help that much, either. What counts is that God does indeed know us and our needs and desires, and He—according to His grace and mercy—will provide what is truly important. Jesus said it well: “The heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
We pray: Holy God, Father, Son, and Spirit, thank You for the gifts of Your Son Jesus for our salvation, Your Spirit for bringing us to and keeping us in the true faith, and Your providence to support us in our every need of body and spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Posted on July 28, 2019 5:25 AM