Isaiah 49:14-15; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34
There is quite a bit of “not worrying” in today’s Gospel. Appearance and sustenance seem to be the two big areas of nervousness. There is the opening reminder which Jesus gives His followers about our not serving two masters. God is an option and materiality being the other. The choice between these two is determined by answering the question about which one is going to make us look better and feel better.
There are the two old sayings: “Clothes make the man,” and “You are what you eat.” Glamour magazines and Gentlemen’s Quarterly stress the power, self-possession, and desirability. Clothing can be a covering or a hiding. They can be a projection of a want-to-be self or a protection from being dis-covered. They can be symbols of identity, such as jackets and sweat shirts and caps, or symbols of rebellion and rejection. I have a baseball cap representing my favorite football team whose logo can flash on and off. My cap almost makes me a member of the team.
Jesus is offering His closest followers an inner clothing. Those who serve God receive their identification which results, not in appearance, but display. Serving “mammon” is our asking the external to support the fragile interior. Serving that way is worshipping what materiality can create out of our inferiority-feelings. This service is a life-long commitment of slavish isolation. Jesus is inviting His disciples to reveal the goodness of God which He is sharing with them.
This Sermon remember, is directed toward His disciples. He asks them not to worry about their starving. They will be sustained by nourishment for their living. They will do many good things and have to face opposition by resistance from their religious leaders. They will have to say strange things about loving enemies, turning the other cheek, forgiving seventy times seven, and picking up daily crosses. They will not be nourished by popularity and acceptance. They will have their egos starving for celebration and recognition, but they are not to worry.
This is a most difficult teaching-part of the Sermon. God will clothe us in such finery that we do not find ourselves worrying about looking good. God will feed us with our identities in God, so that we will not find ourselves running around asking others if we are okay. The flowers are beautifully dressed in their God-givenness. The birds flit here and there spreading their praise of who they are and they don’t worry about what others might be thinking, not even the crows!
“I will sing to the Lord for His goodness to me, I will sing the name of the Lord, Most High.”
By Larry Gillick