In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
But sometimes we love to worry. We even wear our worry as a badge of our love for someone else. And caught up in ourselves we end up lording it over them till it drives a wedge between us and them. But worry is not a mark or badge of love. Worry is a mark of distrust.
Now, all of us worry. Telling you not to worry won’t stop you from doing it. I can point the flaws in your behaviour, I can preach the Law to you so that you know what you should do instead, but I can not stop you from doing it can I? Why? Because worrying is part of human nature, that is, its part of our sinful nature. Worrying flows out of our distrust in God.
You may even know all these things and desire not to worry, not to distrust your Lord who is able to provide for you, who does provide for you. But you still can’t stop yourself from worrying. Instead of telling you not to, I tell you to repent. Name your worry for what it is: distrust of your Lord who guards you, who watches your steps, who provides for you. Repent. Ask God to forgive you and turn you from it by crucifying your sinful nature with Him, and raising up in you a new you who trusts in Him.
For worry is a sacrifice that you make to a different master. If God the Father is your master, the sacrifices He requires are repentance and turning away from sin. This pleases our God and a broken and contrite heart He will not despise. But worry is a sacrifice you make to another master. Our Lord says you can not, you do not have the ability, to serve two masters. You always have to choose. You will always be glued to one and give lip service to the other.
So which is it? Are you going to glued to your worry or to your Lord who provides for you? Maybe you’ve been stuck in worry so long you feel as though you can’t get out, you can’t let it go, for who would you be without it? Repent. Let Our Lord remake you, and tell you who you are. Worry always takes away the peace that God gives, the trust you have in Him, worry is destructive. It causes your faith to be shallow and false. It causes you to resent the things our Lord asks of you.
For instance, if you worry about finances, how will could you ever consider doing what God says in the Epistle today: sharing all good things with the one who teaches you God’s word. The Church and her pastors are the ones who teach you the Word, who give you the Sacraments. Our offerings provide for that ministry to continue. But if you are serving two masters, you can’t really take God seriously here. You can’t give more than the change in your pocket, or the smallest bill in your wallet. All you can give is lip service, half-hearted support, because you have another lord you are serving. That Lord is your own self, your own desires, your fear of not having enough for YOU, of not having the comfort you want, enough food on the table.
Repent. Get rid of that other master. For giving to God is not about being a good person. It’s not that God needs your money. He’s the Lord the of all. He wouldn’t come to you if He was in need. He doesn’t need your 5 dollars, or even your $100. Giving to God is about your need to trust in Him. He can and will provide for you. He does it normally through the callings He gives each of us in our families, work, and society. He provides governments for good order, for maintenance of roads; He provides workers for farms, transportation, food processing, market places, and quality standards. That’s the normal way He provides. But if need be He can take care you supernaturally, just as He did for Elijah and the widow of Zarephath.
You and I are not able by our worry to change the economic circumstances, or even how much money we bring in. Instead, in repentant faith we look to the Lord. And when you decide to give trusting in the Lord. He rewards that. It is an act of faith. He watches over those who are His own. You can’t out give the Lord. He has ways of providing for you, of satisfying you, of giving back to you. It may be that He changes your thinking so that you are filled with joy to give to Him and to assist others and be generous with what the Lord has given you. It may be that some habit or practice of yours that eats up whatever money you could give to the Lord disappears from your life so that suddenly there is more money. It may be that more money comes your way, or that somehow He just makes it stretch as far as it needs to. Who knows how He’ll do it, but He more than adequately provides. Because the truth is, none of us need all stuff we have, all the privileges, all the trips and eating out, the vehicles, etc. We all got along with less when we were growing up. I’ve heard so many of you say how much better it was back when we had less, but we had more time, and we had each other.
For the Christian, the point is not how much you are giving. The point is how much are you trusting Him? God does not want your money. He wants your soul. He is able to provide, so seek first His kingdom. That is, seek His salvation, His righteousness that He gives to you, won with His precious blood shed on Calvary’s cross. For there He gave all He had for you. He provided His best so that you would be His. And there Our Lord provided a banquet of the finest meat and best wine, His own Body and Blood to feed our bodies and souls. And with eternity taken care of all the other stuff you think you need, you know that God will take of that stuff too.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock