2 Pentecost (Proper 3) –Year A; Isaiah 49:8-16; 1 Cor 4:1-5; Matt 6:24-33. Preached at
If we live each day as it comes, if we face each task as it is presented to us and do our level best, then the sum of all our days, when we reach the end, is bound to be good. That life will probably not be what we planned or envisioned, but it will be good, for we will have changed with our times. We will not be stuck in the past, clinging to material things that only impede our growth, that can enslave us and cause us worry. Jesus is telling us that worrying proves only one thing: that we do not trust God. This is a rather harsh truth to hear, a rather harsh condemnation: that we do not trust God when we worry. William Barclay said “Worry is worse then useless, it is often actively injurious.” Worry gets in the way and often times is used as a stalling technique to growth and change. Jesus is telling us today to put worry away because it is disabling. Jesus’ commandment today can bring peace and can also bring power to each one of us, enabling us to move forward with confidence breaking the enslavement brought on by worrying. And this seems almost to be an impossible task for us to achieve on our own.
Perhaps we need to think about life differently. Life is not based on things we acquire. It is okay to acquire things, but we cannot let these possessions overtake our life. Jesus is telling us to seek God’s kingdom above all else. The first part of today’s Gospel about being a slave to God and not to material possessions is not an attack on rich people: it is a warning about the seduction that material possessions can have on us and how that seduction can misdirect us away from being present, really present in the world. Jesus is calling for the proper usage of these possessions as well as an appropriate appreciation, an appropriate attitude about them. Likewise, this passage is also a warning to people who do not have a substantial amount of material possessions, warning not to idolize what they do not have…for again that distracts from God’s work in the world and our part in that work.
First striving for the kingdom and leaving tomorrow’s worries for tomorrow calls for a great effort on our part to put aside the enslavement of self-absorption, self-concern, self-doubt and to focus on the here and now, not worrying about the past or the future…and above all….to trust….trust the one who created us just as we are….and who does not forget us, remember that reference we heard in the Isaiah reading, God inscribing our names on his hand....how personal is that, how much confidence that gives us that God will not forget us and who loves us…This is a lifetime’s work, but through vigilant prayer and constant effort, this different way of thinking about life, about material possessions, about our relationship with God, can lead us to a place were the state of worry that we live with will be something in our past, as we awaken to the sure knowledge that we are taken care of, we are not forgotten and we are embraced by God’s love.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved