Let’s take a closer look at Matthew chapter 6 to see the right ways, and wrong ways, to apply this passage

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:25-34).

IDEA: We try to imitate the birds and dress like the flowers.

PURPOSE: To help listeners think about who they really are.

Have you ever looked at an issue of a slick style magazine? They had several at a club I recently visited. The stories in the magazines were really nothing. What they were really about were the advertisements. What do they sell?

I. Many magazines want us to be like the birds and flowers.

In those magazines immortality and affluence mean the same thing. The ads say, “Your worth is measured by your wealth.”

There is a section on travel to exotic places: “Fly like the birds to . . .” All the people in the ads are “high flyers.”

Clothes are another feature of the ads. What kind of clothes? What do they say to the reader?

II. Am I the only one who thinks that in our society it’s the mark of success to be like “birds” and “flowers”?

Your worth is revealed if you travel to far-off places, especially in your own private jet. But are we more than birds?

Are we intent on imitating “lilies”? How much do we worry about maintaining our beauty? Self-worth and beauty are almost synonymous in our society.

“Birds and lilies” – are we getting ulcers by trying to be like them?

III. Do you think we have any temptation to be drawn into materialism?

Do we really think that life is more than food and clothes and wealth?

While he was on vacation, Ernest Campbell looked up a couple at the request of a friend. He was overwhelmed by the magnificence of the couple’s estate – a huge house, manicured lawns, two sleek limousines in the garage, a yacht moored to an attractive dock. A butler answered the door and ushered Campbell into an opulent sitting room. In a few moments an elegantly dressed lady entered the room to greet him and apologized for keeping him waiting: “We always call our daughter in California on Friday night,” she said, “It’s our one extravagance.”

It is easy to think of our affluence as being ordinary because other people in our church or neighborhood have what we have.

Is it wrong to be “well-off”? Is it dangerous?

What do you pray about? What are the “ulcer issues” in your life?