Sermon for February 27, 2022

Mammon, the god that endorses worry

Matthew 6:25–34 (NIV)

Last week mammon, and this week…mammon.  Some study Bibles separate this section of scripture with the previous verses when they really shouldn’t.  The key Greek words are made in the introduction of Matthew 6:25 that are διά τοῦτο (pronounced “dia too-too”) which in English is often translated as “THEREFORE” or “ALSO” or “THAT IS WHY”.  Here Jesus is continuing his dissertation about the problems that the “god” mammon causes, and the major symptom it causes is WORRY (also known as ANXIETY).

Matthew 6:25–34 (NIV): 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry* about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

* μεριμνάω – mer-im-nah’-o “be anxious” μή – (pronounced like “may”) not –

“not be anxious”

The word anxious is such a unique word in the Greek.  The word root word merizo means to divide or draw different directions.  Merimna describes the state of “being pulled apart.” I guess the Apostle Mark died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead had a very anxious time.

Now, I want to pause and state something.  Jesus says there are two masters, the one is mammon but today we are talking about the Good Master.  The problem, as Jesus points out, is there is a flaw within humanity.  Humanity gets the option to choose what matters.  You see, God’s original creation is perfect, yet, out of love, allows humanity the gift of choice.

What if God simply chose to force you to be good?  What if you had no other options than the perfect way of God?  How then could you say that God is a loving God?  You are forced to love God because you have no other choice.  Forced love is not love at all.

However, if we understand that God is love, perfect love, then He must then have imparted Himself to his creation with a mind to make decisions.  Insomuch, God allows His creation to think for themselves.  The problem is that we base our decisions with the variables that surround us.  Here, let me explain it this way:

Genesis 3:1–12 (NIV): 3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Oh, poor, poor, Adam.  He made a choice of his own and blamed what he did on both his wife and God.  They had everything they needed, and God walked with them in person.  However, by choice they wanted freedom FROM God.  They wanted to be their own boss, make their own decisions.  Therefore, we became naked.  Now physically they were naked, they were the first established nudist colony after all, but their type of nakedness went deeper.  They were being fulfilled by God and now they had to find things to fulfill their desires.

Now, as you look at what Jesus says in starting at verse 28:

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

I wish to enlighten you on what Jesus is saying.  Jesus is saying that God still is doing good in His creation, we are just too blind to see it.  We keep saying how fallen the world is but that is simply because most of mankind is making choices that are self-gratifying and selfish.  However, God is still doing beautiful things!  He can provide you with what you need, but it might not be what you want!

Finally, it is Jesus’ last words in this statement that are perhaps the most powerful:

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Jesus makes a statement on how humanity “wastes” the time we have been given.  We spend so much time toiling for tomorrow that we miss the moments that are in the present.  We cannot deal with tomorrow’s problems if we don’t work through the one’s at this very moment.  We are always toiling, always wanting more, expecting more, but in the end, what more can you take with you in the end? Listen to this:

Ecclesiastes 5:8–20 (NLT): 8 Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy. 9 Even the king milks the land for his own profit!

10 Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! 11 The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!

12 People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.

13 There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver. 14 Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children. 15 We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.

16 And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind. 17 Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.

18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

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