In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
You can not serve two masters. (Matt. 6:24) You can’t be devoted to both or love both. That’s not how it works. You can only be slave or servant to one thing in your life. You’ve gotta choose what it will be. Or at least recognize that if God is in your life He is your master. You are his servant. If you don’t realize that you will go on fooling yourself that you can serve two masters. But you can’t. So you have to get it straight. Is God your master or is money? Which do you serve? Which do you love? Because if you try to serve both, one of them will win out. And you will end up despising and hating one, while loving and being devoted to the other.
This struggle was put in your life when you were baptized. Your parents chose this struggle for you when chose to get you baptized. God chose it for you by Baptizing you. Or for some of you, the struggle didn’t kick in till later, either because were never baptized as a child, or maybe though you were but your parents didn’t raise you in the faith, or you simply walked away at some point. But now, by hook or by crook, God who has called you His own in Holy Baptism has brought you back here. He has reinserted Himself in your life and now is making a claim on you. You have to realize that, or you won’t ever understand how your spiritual life works. You either belong to God or to the “gods” of this world. (Matt. 6:24) “Mammon” or money being the primary one.
You can’t serve both. So if you’ve been trying to serve both repent. If you’ve been serving money and telling yourself you can still serve God repent. Get it straightened out. God will be your god. There is no other. None of the “gods” we fashion will ever do what the true God, the Triune God who made us, can do. (Matt. 6:30)
So, set right, and repented, don’t worry about a thing. (Matt. 6:25) Every little thing’s gonna be alright. Not because a reggae song said so, but because Jesus Christ—the Son of God who took on our flesh, who became part of his own creation to set all things right in His creation—said so. Don’t worry about food or clothes, the things you need to live. (Matt. 6:31) Don’t worry about the economy, your job or the markets, or your pension. That’s part of serving money to worry about that stuff. It’s the way you pray to money. You meditate on it. You enthrone it in your heart and mind as lord and saviour of your life. By being so devoted to it you work self to bone, worrying all the while, “Have I done enough?”
But don’t worry, you servant of God. For He is your God and He doesn’t become your God by you making him your God. He is your God because He made you (Ps. 139:13-14) and saved you. That’s how the Ten Commandments start, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out fo the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery—who saved you.” (Exod. 20:1) Therefore, “You will have no other gods.” (Exod. 20:2) And if you are to have no other gods, the implication is that you are to have HIM as your god, because He gave you Himself when He saved you in Christ Jesus. He has declared Himself your god. So don’t worry about the things you need for life. For life is a lot more than just that stuff: clothing, food, drink. (Matt. 6:25) After all, look at the birds of heaven. (Matt. 6:26) They don’t worry. They don’t work at sowing seed and watering and weeding. And they don’t plan ahead and harvest things into barns where they store them up for the lean times. And yet, the Lord in HIs design provides for them. He provides by sending them with changing seasons to wherever has the most food they need at time. No one really knows how that works. We just see that it is so. And birds flock and mulitply over the earth. (Gen. 1:20-22) They are everywhere. And they are provided for. For your God—your heavenly Father—feeds them. And they were created merely to fill sky and disperse seed and give beauty and wonder to the earth. So worrying—this devotion to money—does nothing. It doesn’t add quality of life. It doesn’t add quantity to life. (Matt. 6:27) Repent of your worry.
And look at the flowers of the fields. (Matt. 6:28) They don’t work or worry. They just exist and grow. And yet their glory surpasses the finest robes that the finest kings have ever worn. (Matt. 6:29) For God, your God, takes care of them just as He does you. (Matt. 6:30) Even when you have so little faith that you fill your days with worry and pray to the “gods” of money and stuff to provide for you. Even then He is still your god. He is still in His heaven. He is still taking care of you and ordering all things for the sake of His kingdom.
Moreover, the nations, the gentiles, the peoples who do not know Lord, they all seek after these things. They worship these things. And your Father knows that you need them all. (Matt. 6:31-32) Moreover, while you may not need a car, or a pension, or all of the amazing appliances and devices of our modern world, nonetheless, His bountiful hand has provided them through people who go to work and do their job. Whether they do it out of devotion to money or merely out of doing their part to make world go round—which is what we Christians do. We do our part. We are devoted to our Lord. We do what He sets in front of us to do. We love the neighbours He gives us, whether that be spouses, parents, children, neighbours, friends, extended family. We do what He gives us to do. And we do it for the joy that He our beloved master has set it before us. And we are devoted to Him who as a loving master provides all we need.
Which means we need not seek after the things He provides from His bountiful hands. (Matt. 6:32) In fact, when your car breaks down, or is breaking down, or needs new tires, and money is tight; if you need it to do what He has for you to do, you turn to Him in prayer and you say, “Your car lord needs new tires. I’ve looked at bank account. I don’t know where they’re coming from. You provide what I need Lord, so I can do work you have me to do."
Our task in life is not to be devoted to the things of this world (Matt. 6:33) but rather to things of God. To His kingdom. To use our physical gifts, our time, our talents, in service of Him. That can mean a tithe of money—which is a great way to smash the idol of money.That can mean recognizing the vocations God has given you in work, in home, in church. (And a quick tip: your primary vocations in each of those places, along with the duties and the neighbours you must serve in those places are found in Small Catechism’s Table of Duties, http://catechism.cph.org/en/table-of-duties.html) And then joyfully putting your hand to those tasks that He has given you to do.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness—not only the righteous actions He would have you do, but especially righteousness of His Son which is yours in Holy Baptism—which was won on the cross, which covers over all your sins, all your short-comings, all your idolatry of false gods such as money.
And all these things that your Lord knows you need, will be added to you. (Matt. 6:33) He will provide for you. Just as He did for Elijah (1 Kings 17:8-16) when the whole nation was against Elijah for Elijah had preached the word of Lord to the effect that it did not rain for 3 years. Elijah was in hiding. And yet, even in a drought the Lord provided what Elijah needed. What His ones of little faith needed. For in that faith, even though it be as small as a mustard seed, God grants to you His righteousness won of calvary’s cross. So that there is no need to be anxious about tomorrow. For each day has more than enough to be anxious about; more than enough for us to set our hands to. But Jesus is Lord of your today, your tomorrow, and all your past, even forevermore.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.