24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Mat. 6:24-34
One of my first ‘vocabularies’ in school was the word “paramount”. We used to read a book about a certain paramount chief, and that word has stuck with me to this day. In today’s post we are going to learn, not about the paramount chief, but about the paramount need in our lives as believers in Christ.
In the above scripture, Jesus says we cannot serve two masters, for either we will hate the one, and love the other; or else we will hold to the one, and despise the other. We cannot serve God and mammon.
Notice that this is a statement. It is not a point for contention or debate. Scripture states simply that we cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon is the god of this world. Now, you would think that this refers to money and wealth only; but Jesus here makes it abundantly clear that it refers even to our most basic human needs: food and clothing. Jesus said we are not to “take no thought” for these things. Why?
Jesus again gave us the answer:
“for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”
God will provide for our physical and material needs! Hallelujah!!
But let us back-pedal a little. What does scripture mean when it says to “take no thought”?
It means to not worry, or to get concerned about. We are not to worry about a lack of these things in our lives. There are things that should be worrying us more, Jesus says.
The foundation that Jesus set for us as His people is to seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. It is to seek God’s spiritual Kingdom first. That is Christ’s foundation for His church. We are to seek the establishment of God’s Kingdom in our hearts. That is God’s priority for us. Jesus said it again in His model prayer:
“9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Mat. 6:9-10)
You may mention food, clothing, cars, health and anything else you want after that; but first things first.
If God ever allowed us to worry, it would not be to worry because it appears we are going to sleep hungry tonight; or for lack of school fees for our children. On the contrary, we are to worry, or to get concerned, on account of God’s Kingdom not being fully established in our lives. That is what Jesus said.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…”
The establishment of God’s spiritual Kingdom in us is God’s paramount need in us. And it also ought to be our paramount need.
It is not that the many gospels being preached in the world today are not preaching Jesus, no; the problem is that they are emphasizing on the well-being of the outer shell, the body, over the profit or well-being of the inner man.
The true gospel of Jesus Christ puts its emphasis wholly on the condition of the man of the spirit. It realizes full well that whatever we do for this outer covering (the body) is vain, for ultimately, this body will end up six feet under, to be eaten by worms. But, today, there are so many believers who are so taken up with the welfare of this body! So much so that a large portion of the Body of Christ has diverted the gospel of Jesus Christ to cater for this outer shell, while the spirit is left to wither and die. Little strength and even fewer resources are directed to the well-being of the spiritual man.
Oh, to worry! Yes, we should worry – worry that we are not spiritual enough. We should be concerned when we find that the works of the flesh are there in our lives and that there is little fruit of the Spirit in us.
But this is a good worry. God works with such worries. His Holy Spirit in us will awake to such a call. And He will galvanise us to desire to do that which is pleasing to God more. We read about exactly such a response from the Corinthian church.
“9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” (2 Cor. 7:9-11)
Godly worry produces Godly sorrow, which in turn produces repentance.
These are the things that constitute God’s spiritual Kingdom. They are the things that should concern us.
Let us touch briefly on our material needs.
Faith is all about seeing into God’s spiritual kingdom. It all depends on whether our spiritual eyes have been opened or not. If we have spiritual eyes, we will see the spiritual and we will focus on the spiritual. If we do not have spiritual eyes, we cannot see into the spiritual and we will therefore focus on the material.
The Macedonians were poor and they were willing to grow even poorer because they saw the spiritual blessing of sharing their lives with the suffering saints in Jerusalem. To them, the blessing was not material. It was not in having their needs met. On the contrary, to them, the blessing was spiritual.
The most important thing that the church needs to understand is that Christ is building a spiritual house in us. He is not building a physical house. As our Father, though, He understands our material needs and He will provide. But He wants us to focus on His spiritual calling in us.
It is when we have this focus that we can refrain from hitting the panic button whenever we get low on our material supplies. Actually, we can even laugh at such conditions, for we know that God is in control. If I am walking with a clean heart, the devil can hit me with all the material deprivation he wants, I wouldn’t care. When God deems it fit He shall provide, and the devil cannot prevent it once God begins working on that front.
But if we do not have this spiritual vision, it becomes very difficult for us to understand why we should not be panicking in such situations.
But we are called to be servants of the Spirit, not the flesh. We cannot serve God and this world. And the true value of Godly faith in us can be found in how willing we are to serve Him in the Spirit.
[Lord, make me a believer]