The fifth and sixth chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew are among the most beautiful in the New Testament. Here we find the Sermon on the Mount, which showcases the wisdom of Jesus as a teacher.
Matthew says Jesus went up on a mountain and the crowd followed Him. I imagine Jesus taught the people in a place much like where we are now. I picture Him seated beneath a tree like the trees here with a view like our view of the river in the distance.
We find also in chapter 6 the Lord's Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. Most pertinent to our text for today is the Fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily bread.
Some of you know the meaning of this petition from the Small Catechism: God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked men; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread? Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
Jesus expands on this teaching with a warning: No one can serve two masters. In this case, the two masters are God and riches. That is, we should not worry about material things at the expense of God's will. That will only lead to wanting more and more, and enjoying what we have less and less.
Why should we not worry? Because God our Heavenly Father is the source of all good things and He knows what we need better than we do ourselves. Jeus pointed to the birds and the flowers as examples of God's providence. He provides for them even though these creatures make no plans for the future.
God provides everything in due time. Look at the trees here. My wife planted all of them more than 10 years ago. And, as you know, now every year they produce much more fruit than our family can eat, even if we share all of it with you. Bananas, avocados, limes, oranges, grapefruit, mangos and more.
Do you know that in the United States, even in California and Florida, mangos are rare and expensive. If someone wants a mango, they must pay a lot of money. But here there you can gather piles of mangos for free.
What's more, our Heavenly Father in His kindness orders the earth to produce corps for everyone, believers and unbelievers alike. Because none of us deserve any good thing from God. We are all siners, none of have fulfilled God's Law perfectly, except for Jesus Christ. But God blesses us all with the earth's abundance.
Because of this, our text says: Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
Our Lord does not say, do not plan for the future or work for the well-being of your family. He says, trust in God and do not fear to follow the path that He has set for you..
We have an example of this in the Old Testament lesson (1 Kings 17:8-16). God had instructed a widow to care for His prophet, Elijah. She did not have much money, or much food in her house in that time of famine. But when Elijah asked for water, she did not refuse him, nor did she refuse his request for bread.
And what happened? There always was enough food for her, her son and Elijah. Later in the book of 1 Kings, her son dies and God working through the prophet Elijah restores him to life. The kindness of God always surpasses our expectations.
What is this kingdom of God that we are to look for? It is eternal life land righteousness in Christ., the greatest of God's blessings. Though we all are sinners and do not deserve to live with Christ now and forever, in Christ we have the forgiveness of sins according to the perfect righteousness of God In Christ we have the opportunity for a life of righteousness now and a life of eternal joy after we depart this world.
Therefore, we are not afraid to imitate our Lord's example, to share the material things that we have with the less fortunate, because we have the promise that our Heavenly Father will provide for our necessities and has saved us for eternal life with Christ. Amen.
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