A Korean church asked me to preach on this.
Ex. 20:1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. Ex. 20:1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
God was Israel’s saviour who had brought them out of Egypt. Would they now trust in Him to keep them, to provide for them? He is the Lord. He is their covenant God. Will they trust him? Sadly they often trusted in idols, false gods who were no gods but because they were the gods of powerful nations around them, God’s people were often led astray. Only exile cured them.
Every one of us is, even from his mother's womb, a master craftsman of idols. John Calvin
Man's mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much so that if a man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain. JOHN CALVIN
What are the idols people forge today?
Matt. 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Money is the number one idol of today’s world. There are others like the state which many look to for their care, or career, or family.
But the message from God is that the idol has feet of clay. It will fall. We have recently been seeing how this is true of our wealth. It promised so much but has failed. Ten years ago I started saving 100 ukp a month with a fund that promised much based on its track record. But when the investment matures, the 12k I had put in had become 10.5k. The idol not only has feet of clay. It may also shrink.
Jesus warned that if you rely on earthly treasure, you may lose it, Moth and rust destroy not your money but other things you treasure. In Africa he would have said white ants. Thieves break in and steal. The original means to dig through a house wall. Today you have more subtle thieves. A Madof may make off with your money. The pension fund may go bust or under perform or government may steal your money through inflation. We in fact have a much worse problem with this than the people of Jesus day. If they hid away their treasured shekels, they were made of silver and gold. What is our money made from? Paper. Our bank notes say, ‘I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of XX pounds”. Well try taking your note to the bank of England and see if they keep their promise. No. Since the 1930s there has been no gold to back the notes. Our money is a mere invention by the state. First they removed the gold as backing, then later the silver from the coins. All our wealth is based on promises which may not be kept. Our financial system is based on trust and that trust is very fragile, hence the massive government intervention to save failing banks.
I am not an economist. An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.--Laurence J. Peter
I am not an economist so I do not come with financial expertise. Who does?
Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, "on one hand... on the other." --Harry Truman
We may scorn fortune tellers but spend a fortune on economists. Things are uncertain in this world. In Ps 73 we hear how the Psalmist envied the rich. I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. …This is what the wicked are like — always carefree, they increase in wealth
l I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. 19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! 20 As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
The rich and their riches will perish. Do not base your life on earthly treasure. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
1Pet. 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Here is the true prosperity gospel. If we belong to God through Christ, we have been born again to an inheritance our father has set aside for us in heaven, an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
Have you such an inheritance kept by God for you through his son ar are you trying to line your own nest for the future.
A rich man died and someone asked what he left. ‘All of it’ came the reply.
This does not mean you do not care about money and how you use or save it. It does not mean you do not buy insurance or provide for your family. It means you put God not money first.
I t means that you commit your future to God, for his provision. It seems to be no no random co-incidence that this command to put God not possessions first is followed by the admonition not to worry.
Matt. 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
We all tend to worry for the future is uncertain . But here Jesus gives us reasons not to be anxious about earthly things. How wil we get buy we worry, enough to eat drink, take care of life’s necessities. Jesus says get these things in perspective. Are they the really important things in life? Is there not something more fundamental, your relationship with God, his kingdom and his righteousness? Get your priorities right. Are you right with God? Are you putting him first? Worry puts self first. Worry is another form of idolatry. Instead of God at the centre of your life it is you and your needs. If you know who God is and he is at the centre of your like you do not need to worry. You can cast all your cares on him for you know he cares for you. He will provide.
An undivided heart, which worships God alone and trusts him as it should, is raised above all anxiety for earthly wants. Geikie
Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short God and His will for us.--Billy Graham
Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matt. 6:28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
You are precious to him. He is the God who provides for and cares for his creation. Why do you not trust him. Why so little faith in him? Luther said he learned about faith from his dog. His dog did not know how he would get his food but he knew who provided it. Luther said if only he trusted God like his dog trusted him, God could do great things with him. We
need a dogged trusting relationship with a heavenly father.
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. --George Mueller (1805-1898) _Sign of the Times_
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
Your father knows and cares. I was brought up in a working class home. My father lost his job through illness and could never return to his trade. Was I worried? No. I trusted my father. Was he worried? Perhaps. But he had faith in our heavenly father who provided a new and better earning career for him. My point is I the boy was not worried because I trusted my father. Do you trust your heavenly one? That is the way to be rid of anxiety.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I compare the troubles which we have to undergo in the course of the year to a great bundle of faggots, far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundle, and gives us first one stick, which we are to carry today, and then another, which we are to carry tomorrow, and so on. This we might easily manage, if we would only take the burden appointed for each day; but we choose to increase our troubles by carrying yesterday's stick over again today, and adding tomorrow's burden to the load, before we are required to bear it. -- John Newton (1725-1807)
Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith.
You can't change the past, but you can ruin a perfectly good present by worrying about the future.
There are two days in every week we should never worry about, two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension. One is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its aches and pains, its faults and blunders.Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday.We cannot undo a single act we performed, nor erase a single word we've said Yesterday is gone. The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its impossible adversaries, its burden, its hopeful promise and unknown performance.Tomorrow is beyond our control.Tomorrow's sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds ...but it will rise ... and until it does.We have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn.This leaves only one day: TODAY! Anyone can fight the battles of just one day.It is only when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives people mad.It is the remorse of bitterness for something that happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Make TODAY the best day it can be, and live one day at a time!
O Lord! how happy should we be,
If we could leave our cares to Thee,
If we from self could rest;
And feel at heart that One above,
In perfect wisdom, perfect love,
Is working for the best.
For when we kneel and cast our care
Upon our God in humble prayer,
With strengthened souls we rise,
Sure that our Father Who is nigh,
To hear the ravens when they cry,
Will hear His children's cries.
O may these anxious hearts of ours
The lesson learn from birds and flowers,
And learn from self to cease,
Leave all things to our Father's will,
And in His mercy trusting still,
Find in each trial peace!
Joseph Anstice (1808-1836)
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.-- Ps. 55:22
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared. --Proverbs 3:25-26
Be anxious for nothing- but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. -Phil. 4: 6-7
I have a better Caretaker than you and all the angels. He it is who lies in a manger ... but at the same time sits at the right hand of God, the almighty Father. Therefore be at rest. -- Martin Luther , letter to his wife Kate: 1546, eleven days before his death.
Pray, and let God worry. -Martin Luther [b. 11/10/1483], in the last letter written to his wife Katy, before his death on 2/18/1546]
Labels: anxiety, Christianity, economics, money, Presbyterian