I remember moving to Africa in 1997. There was email in those days (to the surprise of my children) but nothing was reliable. There were electrical brownouts and blackouts. Telephone calls to my parents cost around $1 a minute, which made connecting even harder.
Fast forward to 2021 and we are thankful that we are riding out this crazy COVID time of life with great technology. Our preferred mode is WhatsApp on this side of the world. But simply having an iPhone makes preaching on the other side of the world, through miles and time zones actually possible.
This week I prerecorded a sermon for a supporting church. As with what is normal for me, I preached on what God is teaching me. I find those lessons are the best to pass along. In fact, I preached almost the same sermon in French last week here in Belgium.
God has brought me to several rich places this month and Matthew 6 is one of them. Jesus is teaching the sermon on the mount. At the beginning of the chapter, He teaches the disciples to pray. I know you know it. You probably memorized to the point that it has almost numbly lost its power. But to the disciples it was new. Exciting. And the sentence before Jesus throws out that example of prayer, He clarifies that our Heavenly Father knows what we need even before we ask…so pray like this.
He teaches them (us) to not collect our treasures up on this earth. I mean, we can’t take them with us anyway, right? But store up treasures in Heaven. Uhmmm…what you think is important, might not add up to a hill of beans where it really counts. Stop chasing what the world is hungry for. Because, guess what? You can’t serve two masters. Choose God.
And then, just as Jesus has laid the foundation of keeping our eyes on God, He hits right into my personality, our anxious state. If we had 6 hours, I could explain to why I am the way I am and think the way I think. The story would shine a light on every move I make and Jesus just points a finger to it and says…DON’T BE ANXIOUS. What?! Was He looking at me????
Maybe, He was looking at you too. Maybe you too have momentary lapses of memory where you forget that we have a God who is limitless. He has everything under control (even when we don’t understand what that is). Maybe you are trying your best to get your stuff under control because you are losing it on every other front…thinking that you need to get control of something. But we weren’t made for that. We were made to let God be God and trust in Him.
That’s why in the midst of all this anxiety, Jesus says but seek [hunger, thirst, crave, desire] first the kingdom of God and His righteousness [justice] in Matthew 6:33.
Prayer [the kind Jesus just taught His disciples] is certainly a part of seeking, craving. And once again in verse 32 (because God knows we people need repetition) Jesus says because your Father already knows. He knows what we need better than we do. And know His word. I was reminded this week how many go to church these days but are really biblically illiterate. How do we live what we don’t know…what we don’t read…what we don’t understand? So dig deep. And worship. Don’t just use your time of worship as an introduction to get something from God, but worship God because you simply want more of Him. He is worth it. And confession. Sometimes (many times) we find it far more comfortable to focus on who we are [as in forgiven] that we stop confessing anything we do that distances that relationship with God. So we need to be mindful of who we are and our great need for a Savior. We also need to confess our trust in the God who has it all under control. Our God who is working things out and making things new. Our God who knows what we need before we ask.
Seeking Jesus is pretty good place to be in. So in the middle of your today, remember that the One who already in tomorrow is working it out.