In the gospel of Matt.6:24-34, Jesus who had made the maximum demand of perfection in his teaching, goes ahead to rule out all the reasons for human imperfections. The core reason presented by Jesus as a factor for nonsubmission to God’s kingdom is useless worry!
He states primarily that no one can serve both God and mammon. Mammon, in the New Testament, implies money or wealth, or anything that drives one to greedy pursuit of material possessions. Subsequently, he outlines all the basic human requirements, food, drink, cloths and even life itself, that are responsible for anxiety and worry, commanding his disciples not to worry about any of those. The question now becomes, if a Christian is not meant to worry about the basic needs of life, for what then should he worry?
Matthew 6:32b-33 provides the answer: “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
In other words, Jesus is saying that the uppermost anxiety or worry of a Christian should be to make heaven. Seeking the kingdom of God should take the highest place in our lives and must be accorded the greatest priority.
A lot of Christians in our time have turned to evil and have gone ahead to justify their actions with material needs or possible threats to their future comfort or molestation by adversaries. Jesus is saying today, none of those is enough to make us not to serve God. When we yield to these needs at the detriment of serving God, we have then chosen mammon over God!
Regarding those needs, the words of Isaiah (Is. 49) to the exiled Israelites is a source of hope. Every human being can easily relate to the tender loving care given to babies by nursing mothers. This is the paradigm Isaiah employed for the people of Israel who while in exile felt Yahweh had forsaken them. This reminds us of the cry of Jesus on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. Jesus teaches us in his passion that when we reach that point of utter desperation, when we begin to doubt God’s presence or assistance, our victory is then close at hand.
Paul to the Corinthians (1Cor 4:1-5) advises us to consider ourselves stewards of God. Let us not be anxious to meet up with human standards and judgments but that of God.
A lot of Christians today are experts at worrying. Worries do not solve problems but multiply them. Jesus reminds us that we can’t contribute a day to our span by worrying. He also reminds us that he is aware of our needs. He places before us his kingdom as our utmost concern, as a guarantee for all other needs.
Are we going to trust him on this? Are we going to prize heaven above all other needs? Are we willing to submit as stewards to his kingdom, rather than being stewards of mammon? May the motherlike care of God sustain us in this world of countless worries through Christ our Lord, amen.