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Devotion to God in all his glory means despising wealth with all its worries

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Read: Matthew 6

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:24-25)

Reflect:

A crowd has come to hear Jesus teach on a mountain, just as Moses once gathered the Israelites to hear God’s voice thundering from Mount Sinai.

Jesus asks the crowd, “Is not life more than food?” Of course life is more than food, but you’d never know it from the dozens of wanna-be-chef shows on TV; the hundreds of cook books on bookstore shelves; the decades many women spend dieting.

Jesus also asks, “Is not the body more than clothes?” Yet so many people today believe the body is not more than clothes, at least, not more then clothes and cosmetics. That’s why we have aphorisms like, ‘The clothes make the man.’ It’s why so many countries are allowing people to surgically alter their bodies to match the clothes they want to wear, whether it be through breast enlargement, stomach staple shrinking, or so-called gender-reassignment surgery. It’s why millions, probably billions of dollars is spent worldwide on advertising that is mostly aimed at making women think their body, clothes and cosmetics are inadequate.

Many people do actually seem to believe that the end goal of life is nothing more than to acquire delicious food and delightful clothes. Jesus disagrees.

Jesus says people who follow this life are worshiping an idol. These people are worshiping Money.* Jesus says there is another choice, a better choice.

I have chosen this better choice: to be devoted to God, to serve God, to love God. I consider money, food and clothes to be rubbish in comparison to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (just as Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8).

crux:

Devotion to God in all his glory means despising wealth with all its worries.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

It is tempting to go along with the sweeping tide of my surrounding culture, to be swept into building my life around the things money can buy, things my culture trains me to desire.

I like nice clothes. I like fine food. I appreciate living in a country where true poverty is rare. But LORD, I don’t want these things to be the foundation for my life. That isn’t a ‘good life’ at all.

I need my life to be built on the firm foundation Jesus Christ laid with his blood.

I need to find my satisfaction and enjoyment in your grace, your providential care, your loving-kindness to me.

Please help me, LORD, to love you and hate money. May I love you and not forget your benefits. May I love you and celebrate this glorious eternal life you have given me. May I love you and appreciate every spiritual blessing that you have given me in Christ. May I love you.

Amen.

 

Rhetorical Ramble:

That’s what the ‘therefore’ is there for, to link these two verses:

“You cannot serve both God and Money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…”

Standard

The only way to meet Christ’s standard of righteousness is with Christ’s righteousness

Read: Matthew 5

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20)

“…I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement.” (Matthew 5:22a)

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Reflect:

Jesus sets the bar extremely high for entry into heaven’s kingdom.

Granted, John the Baptist declared the Pharisees to be a “brood of vipers” (3:7) which is possibly akin to calling them “sons of Satan.” But to the Jewish layman, the Pharisees must have seemed the strictest, most actively religious Jews around. Yet Jesus said even their upright behaviour was not enough to get them into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus took a few strictures from the Law and drew them tighter still. Don’t murder: don’t even call a fellow believer a nasty name. Don’t commit adultery: don’t even think lustful thoughts; and don’t divorce your wife thinking you’ll be free to remarry, because that will bring even greater condemnation upon you.

Then Jesus expands on the positive commands of the Law. Fulfil your vows: and when you say even a simple “Yes” or “No,” keep this as an absolute promise. Just recompense may be sought lawfully: but extravagant generosity, reckless kindness and radical hospitality are even better. Love your neighbour: and love your enemy as well.

Jesus sums it all up with an impossible standard. “Be perfect” in the same way God the Father is perfect. How is this level of righteousness possible? Humanly, it isn’t.

But through his death on the cross Jesus Christ swapped his righteousness for my sin. This is called imputation. My righteousness can only surpass that of the Pharisees because God has credited me with Christ’s righteousness. I am made perfect with Christ’s perfection.

crux:

The only way to meet Christ’s standard of righteousness is with Christ’s righteousness.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

O Perfect One, you are good, you are glorious.
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD.

Your anger and wrath is always deserved, always righteous. You are never malicious or capricious in your judgement, unlike me – forgive me, please.

You are faithful, keeping your promises forever. You never leave your people, though I may turn my back on you – forgive me, please.

You are extravagantly generous, gracious and merciful. You never reject your people’s needs though in your mercy you frequently refuse to grant my sinful desires – forgive me, please.

You are loving, indeed you are love. Without you there is no real love. In you is perfect love which casts out fear and enables me to pray for the good of my enemies. Bless my enemies with love for you, LORD, please.

LORD, you are perfect and so clearly I am not. Please justify me with Christ’s righteousness. Forgive my sin. Renew me and make me a new creation in Christ my king.

Amen.