Subject: Redeemer Downtown Devotional: Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost - August 12, 2012

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Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost - August 12, 2012

These devotionals are to help you prepare for each Sunday to come in the Christian Calendar.* 

[25] “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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? [26] Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? [27] And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? [28] And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, [29] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [30] But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? [31] Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ [32] For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. [33] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:25-33 (ESV)
In these verses, Jesus reminds us that God’s attention to the seemingly little things is what allows us to trust Him with the big things. His focus and concern over the mundane and ordinary is the hope-giving sign of His care about the more substantive and the extraordinary. Throughout the Gospels, for instance, we see that while God’s call for his people to show hospitality and spiritual friendship may mean more than just providing food, clothing, or shelter, it never means less than that. Indeed, in this passage Jesus reminds us in that while life is “more than food,” the body “more than clothing,” and our value more than that of the birds for whom God cares, nevertheless food and clothing -- even for birds and lilies -- remain within the purview of God’s watchful care.

This passage is not a call to naive faith that God will magically provide for our needs without any involvement on our part. Indeed, while the birds presumably don’t worry about and plan fastidiously for their lives (sowing, reaping and gathering in v. 26 refers to the normal rhythms and seasons of agricultural life), that doesn’t mean they don’t exert themselves for their food. Instead, in this passage Jesus reminds us that our lives are more than food and daily necessities, and therefore we should not live as if meeting material needs is the whole of existence. We are not to idolize our physical provisions and pleasures, nor should we be consumed with obtaining them. In fact, if we live our lives solely to meet these needs, we will be filled with paralyzing anxiety about what we will eat, drink and wear, and about how long we will live. But if we seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness as the things of utmost importance and value in our lives, God will provide the rest. Little wonder that C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” God cares for our daily needs, and so we are free to live for so much more than just our material necessities. After all, are we not more valuable than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field?

John C. Lin, Downtown Lead Pastor

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect** from The Book of Common Prayer

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