WEEK FIVE, DAY FIVE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK FIVE THEME: STEWARDSHIP
DAY FIVE THEME: SIMPLICITY AND STEWARDSHIP
SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 6:19-34 (CEB)
“Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkeness, how terrible that darkness will be! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith?
Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: “Gentiles”. This one word stands out to me in this reading. What is the definition of a Gentile? The few that I looked up refer to anyone who is not Jewish or not of Hebrew heritage. In Biblical understanding, Hebrews were the “set apart” people of God – descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who listened to God and followed God … the one true God. God wrote the Ten Commandments for the Hebrews in the wilderness. God saved the Hebrews from slavery in the Exodus. The Hebrews were God’s chosen and everyone else fell into the category of “Gentile”.
In these scriptures the Gentiles are those who worry… about what they are going to eat or what they are going to drink or what they are going to wear. These are all Gentile concerns, not concerns that the people of God should be focused on. God has proven over and over and over again that He is the Provider of all things and therefore our worries are an act of our “unfaith”. God never intends for His people to lack anything, rather that in all things His people would humble themselves and pray and watch what their Mighty God will do.
How many times in our lives have we witnessed God’s amazing providence in our household alone. The times when we didn’t know how a certain bill would be paid or how a certain thing could possible happen…. but all along, God did know and God provided, peace came from letting it go, quit trying to control it and see what God wanted and how God would lead. How much lighter our steps could be each day as we lay all our concerns – concerns that surely go much deeper than food, drink, and clothing – at the feet of Jesus and allow God to work in the midst of our circumstances! This is not a call to laziness …. this is a call of Stewardship.
Stewardship is defined as “the job of supervising or taking care of something such as an organization or property”. “Supervising” and “taking care of” are ongoing action words/phrases. We have a duty from our relationship with our Father, our own calling each and every day. Whether it be who we are – child, parent, friend, spouse, grandparent, neighbor, etc. – or whether it be what we do – our job, volunteering, caregiving, etc. – we are called to be good stewards in every aspect of our living, actively involved in making a difference for all we are in connection with, trusting God to lead us and provide for us and accomplish the job before us.
This scripture is clear that we are not to be consumed with consumption – collecting treasures, clothing, etc. – but we are to be aware and available as God’s vessels, bringing on the Kingdom with each action of our day to day living. This is a high calling – this is a peaceful calling, God’s calling – and as God leads us, He provides the tools and the means to accomplish this calling. This might very well be the definition of peace – within and without!
Let there be PEACE on Earth and let it begin IN and WITH me!