We have lots of worry today. Worry about jobs and unemployment. Worry about education and the future of our country. Worry about retirement and social security. The good news is God didn’t make you so that you could worry and be anxious about every day life; Anxious about your family; Anxious about finances.
Jesus doesn’t want us to pretend these things aren’t real or unimportant. Instead Jesus reminds us that we were Made for God’s Glory. As you exist because God created you, your life is by design. Setting aside popularized Darwinism or Creation Science. Anglicans have affirmed that science, looking, measuring, and trying to understand what we see in the world around us actually helps us to understand God and His purpose. The Anglican expression of Christianity doesn’t put science and theology in opposition, but recognizes if we are to see the reality of God we need to understand the physical world (the science) and to understand the spiritual (the theology).
In Today’s Bible Reading Jesus says God knows you need to support your family, have a home, food, and clothing. God knows you need to a plan for the future, education, care for your family, and savings for retirement. Jesus reminds us to see the big picture. You were made by God and you will only come to the fullness of what God wants for you if you look to God and His plans for you. Plain and simple, Jesus says, You have a real choice to make: to follow God’s plan or to follow your own plan.
Anxiety really is about my plan. It is about my plan for how others should act, what they should do, how they’ll react to what I do. Anxiety is my worrying whether others will follow my plan. The other side of anxiety is to not care what others do. Our plan becomes shutting God and others whom we can’t control out of our lives. Neither of these is God’s plan for us. So being anxious isn’t the solution and “just saying no” isn’t Jesus solution.
Jesus says, “Serve God.”
Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. Matthew 6.24
You can only choose one master to direct and rule your life. The Jesus way is to not be self-serving, but to put God’s desire first in everything you do. You have to ask, “What is God’s desire?” The answer given to Micah, the prophet, was
What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6.8 (ESV)
Most of us have God desire for us memorized. You can say it with me,
THOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. (Summary of the Law)
When Jesus came into the lives of those around them, He brought the power, life, and love of God. They knew their lives were touched by God. When we are serving, we are bringing the presence of Christ into their lives. We have to be intentional in bring the love of God. We pray before we enter into their lives and their problems. When you’re with them, you tell your story of how God has helped you and bring hope that God can help them in their need, hurt, or difficulty. It isn’t preaching at them about what they need to do. You are sharing what has happened in your life; what makes a difference in your life.
Jesus knows we still struggle to put God and others’ first. I care more about what happens to me. What I fail to live out is what we are praying for this week in our Collect, our Prayer for Today. We asked that God would keep us by His help and mercy from all harm and bring us to all good. God knows what I really need, a job, an education, a home, food, and family. But more importantly God wants to give you all of the good things that He created you to enjoy with Him. This is God’s Plan.
Jesus is asking, Are you putting God’s desire first or your own desire? How are you serving God and serving others? Are you setting your good, your plan, to the side so that God’s plan becomes the focus of everything you do?
Paul in his writing to the Christians in Asia Minor warns them to not settle for less. Make your life about serving God and serving others, not about church organizations, activities, and fundraising. When we die and come before God we really only have two questions that God will ask us: What did you do with the gift of my Son? And How have you used the gift of your life that I have given you? God isn’t going to ask us if we were High Church or Low Church. Not if we were Anglicans or Episcopalians. Instead it will be the story of our love in serving God and serving others or not.
God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Nothing else matters. God will take care of all the rest. Say to the anxieties, and those who bring them, “Let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” The glory our lives are to give God come in how we offer our lives, in our serving God and in serving others.
Today, this week, I’m being asked, “How am I serving God?” Or “How am I serving myself, my comfort and plan in this world?” Indifference to others, anxiety, institutions, and externals—These are all indicators my serving God or Mammon. The service of God and others is the reality to which Jesus calls us and where we will see the glory of God shining forth in our lives.