Daily Reflections

Matthew 6:24-34

We come face to face with a choice between God and earthly wealth. To serve God, we need to love him above all things. The rival master can be anyone or anything; the example given is mammon, a Semitic word for money or riches. According to St Gregory of Nyssa, it was a Canaanite god of riches. We can see the challenge as worship either of God or of some other god. Our ultimate loyalty should be to God, and this is impossible if we serve money in the way that a slave serves his master. It is this service of money, not the possession of it, that is wrong. The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer put the choice well: ‘Our hearts have room for only one all-embracing devotion, and we can only cleave to one Lord.’

In the rest of today’s Gospel, the theme is worry and anxiety. The Greek verb in ‘do not be anxious’ (v. 25) is merimnate, used also in Philippians 4:6, ‘Have no anxiety about anything’. God gave us life and our body, so he will give us the lesser gifts of food and clothing, and therefore anxiety is unnecessary.

Jesus identified the human tendency to worry and anxiety. We are all prone to this, to a greater or lesser extent, but it robs us of the peace of Christ. The basis of our anxiety is that we lack faith. Jesus’ teaching here gives us several reasons why we should not worry. It is to miss the point of life, which is far more important than food, drink and clothing. It makes little sense – if God feeds the birds, surely he will not let us go hungry – and is a waste of time because it will never lengthen our lives. Indeed, worry can make us ill, shortening our lives. By worrying, we become like unbelievers, seeking material things. God knows our needs, so apprehension is unnecessary. There are enough problems today without worrying about tomorrow.

The answer to worry is to ‘seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness’ (v. 33). We need to change our priorities and seek to uphold God’s standards. Through God’s grace we can grow in our understanding of his love and become more conscious that he cares for us.

‘Lord, help me to remember that if you feed the birds and cover the fields with beautiful flowers, you are certainly always going to take care of me.’

2 Chronicles 24:17-25  •  Psalm 88(89):4-5, 29-34
Matthew 6:24-34

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