Sunday, September 12, 2010

Trinity 15: A Devotional Commentary

1 Kings 17:8-16 The word of Yahweh came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks: and he called to her, and said, “Please get me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” As she was going to get it, he called to her, and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” She said, “As Yahweh your God lives, I don’t have a cake, but a handful of meal in the jar, and a little oil in the jar. Behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go and do as you have said; but make me of it a little cake first, and bring it out to me, and afterward make some for you and for your son. For thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of meal shall not empty, neither shall the jar of oil fail, until the day that Yahweh sends rain on the earth.’” She went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, ate many days. The jar of meal didn’t empty, neither did the jar of oil fail, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke by Elijah.

Galatians 5:25-6:10 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another. Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor. For each man will bear his own burden. But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches. Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.

Matthew 6:24-34 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon. Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.

The Gospel passage is not speaking of extraordinary luxury items. The Gospel passage speaks of the necessities of day to day life. This is not the time to go point the finger at the rich guy who is obsessed with earning more money. He is certainly included but it also includes the poorest of the poor. This passage addresses those who are simply concerned with having a little food to fill their bellies and would prefer not to starve to death. Even in America, where most of us are not starving to death, we worry. We worry about our 401k or about losing our jobs. We worry about the current political administration. And if you turn on the Christian radio stations they won't help. They'll tell you all about how you need to go out and campaign and get certain people elected or you'll have to tell your grandchildren about how it's all your fault that they don't have any money. There's always some sort of epidemic on the news that we are supposed to be worried about--H1N1, lead paint, tainted spinach, high taxes, universal health care, lack of universal health care, etc.

Even those who sort of get this passage seem to get it wrong. They read the passage and turn it into a way of determining who is or isn't a "real" Christian. Look at all the overtime Bob is working and how competitive he is. He's probably not a "real" Christian. Or is Bob doing enough for the kingdom to prove he is a "real" Christian? How many conversions has Bob made?

These words of Scripture show us OUR sin. We all worship the god of money. We all worry. But these words should also bring us great comfort. We can't do it ourselves. God provides for us. God provides for all of creation and He certainly provides for His own children. He is our Father. He loves us. If God did not love us He would not have died for us. Seek first the kingdom of God. Seek the forgiveness of sins in the preaching of the Word and the administration of Christ's very body and blood. Seeking the kingdom is all about receiving. We do not seek the kingdom by our own works. We receive the kingdom. We receive Christ. Christ gives us Himself. Because we have been given Christ, we do not need to worry about all these other things.

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