Grace and peace to you from our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first commandment says, "You shall have no other gods before me." When we love the Triune God of the Bible with all our heart, our whole soul and with all our mind and with all our strength, there is no room for others.
But today, as at the time of Jesus and the Apostles, some people say, "Yes, it is possible to honor and worship other gods." In ancient times, the false teachers said that God Almighty, Creator of heaven and land, is very far from us and has no interest in our daily lives. We will respect Him, but at the same time pray to the spirit beings closer to us, nature spirits or ghosts of our ancestors.
Today, false teachers say, "The Triune God is all powerful, but very far from us and not interested in our daily lives. Let's pray to the Virgin, or saints or angels or other spiritual entities, such as Maria Lionza, Negro Felipe or others." This is idolatry, and against the First Commandment. This is a big lie because the Triune God is all powerful, but not far away from us. He walked among us human beings in the person of Jesus Christ who died for us on the cross, rose again the third day and still is our advocate on the Father's right hand (1 John 2:1). Jesus taught his disciples that they can call God Father in His name (Matthew 6:9-13). He promised to stay with us until the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). Moreover, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and the Spirit also prays for us (Romans 8:26). At the same time, Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father but by me" (John 14:6). We can present our petitions and thanksgiving to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and nobody else.
But there are a variety of forms of idolatry. The worship of spiritual entities, real or imaginary, is gross idolatry. There is more subtle idolatry. Some people do not pray to the spirits, but set the good things of this world in the center of their hearts, such as wealth. Dr. Martin Luther said, "Your God is that to which your heart clings." In this sense, wealth can be your God.
Therefore, in our text for today, the Lord says, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or appreciate the one and despise the other. You can not serve God and mammon." It's natural to be concerned with wealth. With an abundance of money comes many things: food and drink, sensual pleasure, a large house, influence and popularity. But to think about these things apart from the will of God is a form of idolatry and silly too. For all the good things of this life are blessings from God.
So Jesus' advice is "Do not be afraid," or "Do not worry" because of material needs. "Therefore I say: Do not worry 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? Behold the fowls of heaven, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?" We can trust God because He so loved us enough to send His Son to suffer and die for us. He will also care for our material needs.
"And which of you, much as he toils, add to his stature one cubit? And the dress, why do you trouble yourselves? Consider the lilies of the field grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of them. "Again, do not worry for the things of this world." But your heavenly Father knows that ye need all these things."
And the most important advice: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you." That means, it is not a bad thing to plan for the future and work hard to achieve the goals that you have set. But do it all for the glory of God and do not be afraid to share your material blessings with the poor. Trust God for your own needs and look for the good of your neighbor. This is the secret of living in peace and real security.
Because as believers in Christ we have the promise of the love and mercy of God today and eternal life forever.
The peace of God which passeth all understanding will keep you in heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Amen.
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