In our catechism we confess: “I believe in God the Father Almighty…What does this mean? …that He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.”
I believe. I believe that He provides me with everything. That He takes care of everything.
Do we believe that? I believe that we do believe, but not by our own reason or strength. The Holy Ghost has called us by the Gospel. Scripture says, “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”. Even faith is a gift of God.
However, just like the disciples, we too have our moments of doubt. Especialy when things go wrong, it’s easier said than done to trust God will make everything work out for our good.
Yet, Jesus is not here to condemn the weak faith, or the “little faith”, as He calls it. He is here to strengthen it. That’s why we need God’s Word. That’s why we need to be reminded of our Baptism, and to continue to partake of the Lord’s true body and blood, given and shed for the remission of our sins. Our faith needs to be fed. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
I believe God the Father Almighty daily and richly provides.
Jesus only mentions the word “faith” one time in today’s lesson, but yet, we must confess every other word is about faith too.
For example, He directs our attention to the birds. Notice how they never plant crops, or harvest. Of the food they gather, they never store it anywhere. They don’t build barns. They don’t store it in the fridge. They seem to just assume that food will always be there, and, miraculously, it always is! They never starve because our Heavenly Father always takes care of them. And then Jesus says, you are of more value than a bird.
You were created to live with God forever. You were created in His image. And when we lost that image, that knowledge of God, through sin, God gave us His Son to restore it. God gave us His Son to be judged by God for our sin, to be condemned for our sin, that we might be forgiven of all our sin. God “made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
So if God has concern for the birds, and never fails to feed them, how much more will He never fail to feed us and clothe us, He says, “O ye of little faith.”
Let us not be offended that He calls us, “Ye of little faith.” Let us be honored, that He takes the time to strengthen, and gently nourish that little faith in us. Reminding us that we are His children. “ Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” We are His children, adopted by grace in His Son.
So He knows our needs. He understands our needs. Jesus was touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He felt hunger as He fasted 40 days/nights, and knew what it was like to be in a situation where it seemed like He was forgotten. He also felt thirst, pain, and loneliness, especially as He went to the cross for us all. He knows our needs.
And He isn’t going to let His children starve. He came first and foremost to make satisfaction for our sins, but He also isn’t going to let us starve. He that spared not His only-begotten Son, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? He knows our needs, and He will always provide. And yet, when it comes to bodily needs, we still say, “Thy will be done”, trusting that He will provide what is best for us.
Therefore, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.”
The god of mammon says “seek first earthly things, because God is not in contorl, you are. It’s all about you, your hard work, your intelligence, your capabilities. You are in control of your destiny. Therefore you need to get your hands on as much wealth as possible. Because look at all the things you need to control with more money. Look at all the extra doors you can open with more money. You’re the only one who can unlock those doors, with more money.” That’s the wisdom of the world. That’s the god of mammon.
And so therefore, “Average isn’t enough. I gotta be rich. I gotta have the best of everything.”
But the problem is that there is no rest or peace in serving the god of mammon (the love of money) because more is never enough. And even if we did reach a billion dollars – think of all the time, and effort that would be wasted on simply trying to protect it all. And think of the constant suspicion that our friends may only be there to get our money.
Jesus invites us to cast aside the false god of mammon, and to put our trust in the true God, who “richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.”
But actually, that’s the lesser gift. As great as it is that God daily and richly provides for our bodies, that’s the lesser gift. God’s grace in His Son, Jesus Christ, is the greater gift. Whoever has that gift in his heart, is the richest person in the world.
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man turned out to be the poorest man in the world, because he did not have the eternal riches of Christ in his heart. The poor man Lazarus turned out to be the richest man in the world, because he had the overflowing riches of God’s grace in his heart.
That’s you, believers in Christ, baptized of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. You are the richest person in the world. You enjoy the greatest gift God has to give: peace in knowing God is at peace with you for the sake of His Son. Rest in the promise of eternal life in Christ. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Can more money grant those eternal treasures? Can the love of money bring everlasting peace and rest to our soul?
Five times Jesus mentions the phrase, “taking thought”, which means to be anxious, or to worry. He says, Take no thought for your life, Take no thought, saying, what shall we eat, what shall we drink. Take no thought for the morrow. And which of you by taking thought can add one cubit (a Hebrew measurement equalling about 18 inches) to his stature or height. And why take ye thought for raiment, or clothing?
Jesus is saying, “Why worry?” It’s completely unprofitable, completely unnecessary, since our Heavenly Father will always provide.
So Jesus says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” True wealth is having our sins covered by the perfect righteousness of Christ. True riches is knowing that God is at peace with us because Christ made satisfaction for all our sins on the cross. “We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.” And Jesus rose again which proves that our sins are forgiven. How can we ever be poor knowing Christ gained eternal riches for us in heaven by going to the cross for us?
He promises to continue to be with us, to continue to provide for us in both body and soul. He therefore invites us to rely on Him, to trust in Him, not in the temporary things of this world.
I believe in God the Father Almighty…that He richly and daily provides all that I need for this body and life. He continues to provide for both my body and soul. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. He that cometh to Me shall never hunger, he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” And whosoever believeth in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. Amen.