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Trust in God above all else

Matthew 6:24-34

Pastor David Ernst

15th Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Sep 12, 2010 

Many people say, "I don't believe in God" or "I have no use for religion." However, everybody has a god and, therefore, a religion. Dr. Martin Luther said, "Your god is that to which your heart clings." That is, on what for you depends any sense of security or hope in this life? What is more important for you than anything else? That is your god.

For example, for many people, security or hope for the future depends completely on how much money they have. Once in a hardware store in Barinas, Luz Maria and I talked of our mission here. A man told us, "My god is money." It was a simple and honest statement. For him and many others, money is the most important thing in life.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said, in today's Gospel reading, "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 money."

What does this mean? If we serve God, we trust in Him for all our needs, and trust His Word above all else. The Word of God says, "Do not steal," and "Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor."

But what happens if we have little or no money and put our faith in money rather than the Word of God? First, we will covet more money in our hearts, and perhaps justify theft in our own eyes. "I need money in order to eat. That man over there has more than enough money to feed himself. Therefore, it is right for me to rob him." And if he resists our attempt at robbery, maybe we will be able to justify killing him, despite the Word of God, which says, "Do not murder." That is why the Scriptures say, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:10).

Perhaps our love of money will not immediately bear fruit in robbery or murder. Let's say we meet a beggar on the street who asks us for alms. What do we do? If we do not trust in God, but in money, we will say, "My money is my own. I have nothing for you." In a case like this, we may lose out on a greater blessing from the Lord.

In our Old Testament lesson (1 Kings 17:8-16), in a time of drought, the prophet Elijah asked a widow for water and a bit of bread. The widow had her doubts, but trusted enough in God to share her food and water with Elijah, and God extended her supplies through the duration of the drought. Futhermore, the verses that follow our lesson explained that using Elijah as His instrument, God saved the life of the widow's son.

God does not promise to make us rich, but rather to provide what we need for our material and spiritual well-being. We trust in God for everything, or, little by little, we come to trust in God for nothing. If we trust in the Lord even when we have little money, we still have the love and inner peace that money cannot buy. And, in the hour of our death, what does money matter? It counts for nothing at all, but our relationship with God does.

In today's epistle (Galatians 5:25 to Galatians 6:10), St. Paul says, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."

The foundation of our security and hope in this life and the life to come is the promise of eternal life with Christ. Because of Jesus, His suffering and death on the cross, and His glorious resurrection, we always have the hope, inner peace and joy that come from the Holy Spirit. We do not feel anxious about what we will have to eat, to wear or other material things.

Therefore, St. Paul writes: "

Entonces, San Pablo escribe: "Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."

Everything in the world belongs to God. In first place, because He created the heavens and the earth and all living things. In the second place, we belong to God because He bought us with His own blood. On our own merits, we deserve nothing but eternal damnation.

God needs nothing from us, because all is His by right. However, as a loving Father, He is pleased to receive our offerings of thanksgiving and to see us share the gifts that He has given us with our brothers.

Therefore, let us trust God above all things. Amen.

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