In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be! The chapter that our Gospel reading comes from this morning (St. Matthew 6) is the middle section of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7). This Sermon on the Mount is an extensive teaching by Christ on the life that God would have us live if we choose to follow Him. And the passage that we have this morning deals specifically with trusting God, especially when it comes to our basic day-to-day needs. This is something that many Christians truly struggle with – trusting God to care for us, trusting God with our lives and our situations, and knowing what it means to trust in God to provide for our needs. The first three verses of this passage we read initially doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the reading. Most of the reading is about trust in God to provide – but the first few verses actually give us an important perspective. Christ begins by teaching that we can’t serve two masters; we can either serve God, or we serve the ways of the world. If we try to do both, eventually we’ll wind up loyal to one and despising the other. And the Father’s of the Church make it clear that Christ means eventually we’ll turn our backs on God for the immediate physical pleasure of the world. Christ then goes on to talk about trusting God to care for our needs – but in the teaching our Lord is constantly re-enforcing the fact that we can’t serve two masters. We can’t serve the things of the world, and then somehow also expect ourselves to trust in God. When we read passages like this, or talk about trusting in God, sometimes we don’t stay on the safest road, we lean a little to the right or to the left. We’re tempted to think that we can just do whatever we want to do and that somehow God will make things work out. We trust God will work things out, and we just live. And then there’s also the temptation to do nothing; to just wait for God to do things for us. But it’s obvious from the examples our Lord uses that neither one of these things is the case. He talks about food and drink and clothing – if we do nothing, then we’ll have nothing. Let he who doesn’t work not eat. So our Lord isn’t talking about doing nothing and waiting on God to give us something. And He certainly isn’t teaching us to do whatever we want to do and make occasional reference to trusting that God will watch out for us and make things okay at the end of the day. Christ is referring in this passage again to the beginning – we can only serve one master. Only one thing can occupy the highest priority in our lives. Either we give God the first place in our lives, or we give the world first place in our lives. And so the warnings Christ gives this morning show us the wrong path – if we’re overly worried and anxious all the time about food and drink and clothing and shelter – then there’s a good chance that our priorities aren’t straight. Our Lord is warning us against anxiety and being caught up in the things of the world – we’re being warned against having our ultimate focus (that #1 place) on the world, even on the most basic and physically necessary things in life. We have to think about these things; we have to work to provide for ourselves, and we have to shop and buy houses and all those things. But our focus is to be on Christ. Those without Christ [Gentiles] worry constantly about the things that keep them alive physically (food, drink…) because that’s all they know. We know something more. Christ is risen from the dead, we sang at Pascha, destroying death and giving life. A total pre-occupation with the things of this world, what Christ is warning against this morning, it ultimately comes from a fear of death. If all I know as a source of life is food, then I chase food. But as followers and disciples of Christ, we know that the source of life is God. We chase God; we seek God first in all things; He who is the Creator of the food and the drink and the shelter. Christ then ends this section of the Sermon on the Mount with a re-iteration of what He said at the beginning – “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [that you need for your daily life on earth] shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). This is constantly our Lord’s message. We get caught up in so many things that distract us from God, but for true Health and Joy and Peace, we’re told to do one thing. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

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