Saturday (June 23): Scripture: [alternate reading: Luke 1:5-17]
24 “No one can serve two masters; for 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 God and mammon. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall 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 one cubit 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 men 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 all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
Meditation: What does the expression “serving two masters” and “being anxious” have in common? They both have the same root problem – being divided within oneself. The root word for “anxiety” literally means “being of two minds.” An anxious person is often “tossed to and fro” and paralyzed by fear, indecision, and insecurity. Fear of some bad outcome cripples those afflicted with anxiety. It’s also the case with someone who wants to live in two opposing kingdoms – God’s kingdom of light, truth, and goodness or Satan’s kingdom of darkness, sin, and deception – following God’s standards and way of happiness or following the world’s standards of success and happiness. Who is the master in charge of your life? Our “master” is whatever governs our thought-life, shapes our ideals, and controls the desires of our heart and the values we choose to live by. We can be ruled by many different things – the love of money and possessions, the power of position and prestige, the glamor of wealth and fame, and the driving force of unruly passions, harmful desires, and addictive cravings. Ultimately the choice of who is our master boils down to two: God or “mammon”. What is mammon? “Mammon” stands for “material wealth or possessions” or whatever tends to “control our appetites and desires.”
There is one master alone who has the power to set us free from slavery to sin, fear, pride, and greed, and a host of other hurtful desires. That master is the Lord Jesus Christ who alone can save us from all that would keep us bound up in fear and anxiety. Jesus used an illustration from nature – the birds and the flowers – to show how God provides for his creatures in the natural order of his creation. God provides ample food, water, light, and heat to sustain all that lives and breathes. How much more can we, who are created in the very image and likeness of God, expect our heavenly Father and creator to sustain not only our physical bodies, but our mind, heart, and soul as well? God our Father is utterly reliable because it is his nature to love, heal, forgive, and make whole again. Jesus taught his disciples to pray with confidence to their heavenly Father: Give us this day our daily bread. What is bread, but the very staple of life and symbol of all that we need to live and grow. Anxiety is neither helpful nor necessary. It robs us of faith and confidence in God’s help and it saps our energy for doing good. Jesus admonishes his followers to put away anxiety and preoccupation with material things and instead to seek first the things of God – his kingdom and righteousness. Anxiety robs the heart of trust in the mercy and goodness of God and in his loving care for us. God knows our needs even before we ask and he gives generously to those who trust in him. Who is your master – God or mammon?
“Lord Jesus, free me from needless worries and help me to put my trust in you. May my first and only concern be for your glory and your kingdom of peace and righteousness. Help me to live each day and moment with trust and gratitude for your providential care for me.”
4 `I will establish your descendants for ever, and build your throne for all generations.'” [Selah]
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
29 I will establish his line for ever and his throne as the days of the heavens.
30 If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my ordinances,
31 if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments,
32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with scourges;
33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love, or be false to my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant, or alter the word that went forth from my lips.