Matt 6:22-33 2023/06/25 Osaka Church
In the Name of the Farther and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
“Do not worry about your life or your body, what to eat, what to drink, or what to wear. Look at the birds of the air and the flowers of the field; they neither toil nor spin, and are not troubled. They are even more beautiful than King Solomon in all of his glory”.
These words of the Lord Jesus have given deep sympathy and comfort to many people. But who can follow this teaching and surrender everything to God without worrying about anything? Ever since Adam and Eve broke God’s commandment and took the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and ate it, man has been forced to live with the cares of life. By taking and eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve, that is, man, declared his independence to God. Instead of being willing to live under God’s care and protection, they abandoned paradise, saying, “I can make it on my own, too”. It is not true that he was “banished as punishment” from God. Instead, they brought upon themselves a life where they had to continually toil and labor on a barren land covered with thorns and thistles. Every day, we are troubled. Every day we must use our brains and strength to develop and dig up the world, which was supposed to be a gift from God, as a resource for our own survival. The history of “progress and development” has begun. Finally, mankind, having continued to venture into God’s domain, has acquired, for example, advanced medical technology that was once unimaginable. As a result, the families of extremely ill people are now forced to choose between life-prolonging treatment or doing nothing, between “life and death”; a choice that is truly burdensome. God did not create people to endure this kind of severe worry.
For those of us who live this way, the Lord’s words, “Look at the birds in the sky and the flowers in the field,” stir our hearts as a sweet and sad reminder of a way of life we have lost. It makes us realize the gravity of this loss. But that is all. Beyond that, we are stuck.
With God’s painful sorrow and deep compassion for us, the Lord says, “You cannot serve God and wealth at the same time. Therefore, do not be anxious about your own life or your own body, but look at the birds in the sky and the flowers in the field”.
The key word is “therefore”. The pronouncement that we cannot serve God and wealth at the same time and the call to “not to be anxious” are closely connected in this one word. Each of us is called to choose between a life in which God is the master, which we have lost, and a life in which wealth is the master, in which we have continued to acquire what is called “progress and development,” even while suffering from the cares of the world. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a choice between “God and wealth.” There are many rich people who have great faith. It is a choice of “which one shall be my master.”
If we read today’s Gospel, “Do not worry” as a commandment, an exhortation, or a lesson, our suffering will only increase, because we will only be more concerned about our inability to let go of our worries. We are only moving away from true life which God presents for us.
Who is the master? If we receive God back into our lives as our “master,” we shall free ourselves far more than the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, we shall set ourselves free from our worries, we shall set ourselves free from our cries, we shall set ourselves free from our “doubts,”
… “Let go of your worries”. This is only a command which troubles us much more than ever. Instead, we must hear the gospel like this, “the worries will disappear”. Only then does this gospel begin to shine as the “Word of Life” that keeps us alive.
Today’s gospel concludes with the following words.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.