Our Heavenly Father Provides Lasting Riches in Christ
Matthew 6:24-34 - 15th Sunday after Trinity - Sept. 4, 2016

Dear children of our Heavenly Father, well-provided for in both body and soul.

We know we are not supposed to do it, but we have to admit, we do it anyway: we worry. Often we do it without even realizing it.

But it’s clear that Jesus does not want us to worry. He says, “Take no thought for your life,” which means, don’t worry, don’t be anxious, don’t be afraid. Why? Because He will always provide. What is the point of worrying about not having enough, when our Heavenly Father owns everything, and promises to always provide all that we need? What is the point of worrying about tomorrow, when Scripture says our times are in God’s hands, and that He will make all things work together for our good? Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles. It only takes away today’s peace.

Yet He wants us to have peace in our heart, rest in our souls, knowing that the economy, the governments of the world, our bank account, our possessions, no earthly thing is in control of our life - our Heavenly Father is in control. He knows our needs, He takes them to heart, and He promises to always provide. He always has, and He always will. Scripture says to cast “all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” May we be strengthened and comforted today again by our Great provider. Today Jesus shows us God’s readiness to provide for all our needs, and His willingness to forgive when we fall short of trusting in Him.

Many mornings we’ve woken up to the birds singing. What a beautiful part of God’s creation. Yet, have we ever thought about how they get their food? They certainly don’t plant, and they don’t harvest. And of the food that they do gather, they never store it anywhere - they never save any for later. Yet, day after day, year after year, they always seem to have enough to eat, because our Heavenly Father provides. Jesus says, “Are ye not much better than they?” Aren’t you much more valuable to God than a bird? We were created in the image of God to live with Him for all eternity. And when we lost that image through sin, God sent His only-begotten Son to redeem us.

If God has concern for the birds, and never fails to feed them, how much more will He never fail to feed and clothe His children?

Jesus goes on to say, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin” Flowers do not work for a living to provide for themselves. They don’t have arms and legs to spin yarn to make their own clothing, and they certainly can’t go out and buy it – “And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Even a rich King like Solomon, imagine him wearing his royal purple robe, lined with gold and silver – yet, this does not compare with the beauty God has given to the flowers in the field. In both cases, wild birds, wild flowers, God provides for their needs.

How much more will our Heavenly Father take care of us, His children. Notice Jesus does not refer to God with the name “God.” And He doesn’t say, “My Father.” He says, “Your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need...” This is for our comfort. We are God’s children, by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ. And just as a father provides for his children, our Heavenly Father always provides for His. He will never let us down.

There is no need to worry about whether or not there will be enough to go around. The same Jesus who changed water into wine and multiplied the fish and bread for thousands: He says “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”

He knows our needs and He understands them. God became a man, and experienced exactly what it feels like to be one of us – to hunger, to thirst, to feel pain, and loneliness - Most of all, He experienced what it felt like to have the weight of the whole world’s sin and guilt laid upon His shoulders. He did that for us. Now, He isn’t going to let us starve. He came first and foremost to take away our sins, but He also isn’t going to let us starve. He has compassion on us, like He had on the multitudes in the wilderness who went without food to hear His words of eternal life. He will provide.

Worrying is like saying God is not in control. Worrying is like saying God doesn’t really care. Worrying is like saying by our anxious thoughts, we can somehow alter our future. But Jesus says, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit (about 18 inches) unto his stature?” In other words, worrying doesn’t change things.

The opposite of worrying is believing. By Grace, God has given us the confidence to leave everything in God’s hands, and trust He will make it all work out. As Jesus says, “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He had fasted for 40 days and nights. Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread. The devil was saying, “You can't trust in God to provide for you. He won't give you your daily bread.” But Jesus didn't fall for that lie. He trusted in God. “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” This is the gift of faith Jesus has given to us through the Word, through our Baptism, through His true body and blood, given and shed for the remission for all our sins.

At least sometimes we think that more money, (“mammon”, earthly riches) will somehow solve our problems, or at least make life a lot better for us. But doesn’t God own everything? Doesn’t He hold the whole world in His hands? If we have a need for something, doesn’t He promise to provide for us, regardless of our situation? He promises He will be with us even unto the end of the world. He therefore invites us to rely on Him, to trust in Him, not the fading treasures of this world. He wants us to work hard, and we should, but isn’t life more than meat, drink, and clothing? Isn’t life more than material things?

True wealth is having our sins covered by the perfect life of Christ, being clothed in His robe of righteousness. True riches is knowing that God is at peace with us because Christ made everything right between us and God.

Seeking first His kingdom means trusting in Jesus as our Savior from sin. “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold...But with the precious blood of Christ.” What is worth more than having the assurance that Christ’s blood washes all our sin away? He went to the cross to reconcile us to God, rose again, and promises we will rise too. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” How can the passing treasures of this world compare with that? Regarding food, clothing, etc., “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” He knows our needs, takes them to heart, and always provides. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

How blessed we have been, and are, and will be, by remaining the children of our Heavenly Father. How can we ever be poor when we are the children of the One who owns everything? What need is there to worry when Jesus has already risen from the grave? This is how we know our Heavenly Father loves us, He already accepted Christs’ sacrifice on the cross. His resurrection means our sins are forgiven, and that we will rise too. There is a place for us reserved in heaven. God promises, it doesn’t fade away, it’s an inheritance incorruptible, unlike all the treasures of this world, which all eventually rust and rot, and fade away.

We are the blessed children of our Heavenly Father. We do not need to worry since He will continue to provide us with all that we need. By God’s grace and His Spirit working in us, we do seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. We have peace and joy in the forgiveness of sins. This is something that earthly riches can never provide. In Jesus’ name. Amen.