Sermon for the 8th Sunday after the Epiphany

Isaiah 49:8-16; Psalm 131; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34 (NRSV) (KJV)

I found myself wondering what our part of the world would look like if we followed Paul’s counsel to not judge ourselves, leaving it to Jesus when he comes in all his glory.

What would some of us do with the time we otherwise would spend on ‘coulda-woulda-shouldas’ and beating ourselves up for honest mistakes now and previously?

What if we began to see ourselves as Jesus sees us? How do we measure up?

Are we trustworthy with all that God has enabled us to accumulate as well as any resources under our control. Paul’s assertions are as valid today as when he dictated them to the church in Corinth.

How would Jesus judge our relationship to money? Has striving for financial security in these troubled economic times robbed us of the hope we have in Christ?

Back in my youth, in the days of God and mammon, I did not realize what a hold money would come to have on people. I realize now that money was an issue then as now and that I was somewhat shielded by the area we lived in and my father’s government income.

But I am a wage earner now; I know about what things cost, and I understand the demands that affect us whether we are young marrieds, have teens, or are living on fixed incomes. For example, I know that youth activities are expensive in terms of equipment, time and travel.

Even with children in their 30’s, we help out our children as they make their way in the world. Until last September we were part of the sandwich generation.

But are we doing what we really want to do or are we pressured by the demands of keeping our children going non-stop because we want them to be enriched.

Jesus goes on to give a series of illustrations from the natural world which demonstrate God’s care for living things. What he is really getting at is that the God who loves us really does care about us.

Fine, I say, let me win the Powerball Jackpot, and I can take some of the pressure off God. To which God reminds me, I must buy a ticket. Yet the reality is that many folks who’ve hit the lottery go through the money rather quickly and are worse off than before.

So the good news is that, if we will shift focus away from stuff and seek a closer spiritual connection with God, God will give us what we need and our lives will improve if we seek after righteousness—the biblical word for right conduct.

And Jesus closes this part of his address by quoting an adage of the time which we know as ‘Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking that we all break into ‘Don’t Worry; Be Happy’ but I do say that we all need to take stock of where we are, who we believe in and how we’re going to live our lives from here on out.

Elsewhere Paul writes that faith is belief in what cannot be seen. But I think faith is also believing that with God all things will come out right in the end.

Think about it.

Amen.