Word for Today Archive

Pastoral Commentary for Matthew 6
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie

"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."

These words from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount were played out in real life during last year's Tour de France. Arguably the greatest professional cycling team manager in the history of the Tour, Johann Bruyneel, (whose teams have won 13 Grand Tour titles) had the two greatest current winners of the Tour on the same team, both Lance Armstrong (7 time winner) and Alberto Contador (2 time winner). As the race unfolded Bruyneel had to decide who the team was going to support in their effort to win the yellow jersey.

After Contador rode away from the rest of the contenders on a huge mountain stage, Bruyneel's decision became clear. He had to support Contador. If he had continued to try to support both Armstrong and Contador for the win, neither would have won and another team would have taken the yellow jersey. No one can serve two masters. If Bruyneel had tried to serve both Armstrong and Contador he would have failed them both. That's why when it came time for preparations for this year's Tour, Bruyneel went with one of the two, Lance Armstrong, on Team Radio Shack.

Jesus told us the truth in Matthew 6:24. You cannot serve two masters. If you try to serve God halfheartedly while your real goal is to obtain wealth, you will be sorely disappointed. If you get wealthy, your relationship with God will diminish, and you'll discover the emptiness of riches. If you seek to use your talents to serve God and glorify Him you may get wealthy in the process, but you will see your wealth as a gift from God to be used for His honor according to His will.

I'm convinced that the reason God commanded the tithe in Malachi 3:10 was simply because no man can serve both God and money. God understood that if we trust Him enough to give Him the first 10% of all that we receive, and truly believe that He is able to supply all our needs with the remaining 90%, then He really will be our One Master.

That's why God said, "Test me in this!" Once we've tested him we will recognize the joy and blessing of serving God as our One Master. But we have to test Him first. We have to take that big step of faith to give Him our tithe. As we do so, we will see Him provide our every need and we will also begin to experience the joy of laying up treasures in heaven.

This creates a positive feedback loop. As more of our treasure is dedicated to heavenly things, our hearts are more and more centered on the things of God. Serving God as our One Master becomes more and more natural for us. We rejoice to devote ourselves to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Ask yourself who can take better care of you and meet all your needs? God or Money? The answer is a no brainer. Choose your master wisely.

Pastoral Commentary for Matthew 6
Author: Pastor Josh

The sunny season is here! So much so... my daughter received a pair of dark sunglasses with white frames from her Pre-K teacher as a gift.

When driving around town, or spending time by the community pool, sunglasses are a great help in protecting our eyes. Just a few weeks ago I visited with Brooke again about the importance of not looking into the sun, letting her know the blinding affects that could result.

Protecting one's eyes... that reminds me of our reading today where Paul says:
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (vs. 22-23)

Watch what you watch... watch what you read... watch what you look at. Paul is clear, "the eye is the lamp of the body". A life filled with darkness... or a life filled with light - it hinges on what you look at.

In our house an example of how we live this out is with television. We might be watching something as a family that is appropriate, but then at commercial time things come on the screen we are not expecting - movie trailers that have scary undertones, TV show pre-views that don't value modesty or appropriate behavior between men and women... etc.

When these come on... we do one of two things, if not both. We look away for the duration of the commercial, or we immediately flip the channel for a few minutes until our TV show returns. This practice has become so ingrained that my daughter doesn't even need reminding at times... she looks toward me, I look toward her... and we wait the commercial out.

What about you? How are you protecting you eyes... and in so doing, protecting your heart, and your entire life?

Today... on this sunny Friday, whenever the sun becomes blinding and you possible move to put sunglasses on - think about other ways you can avert your eyes from other things that not only affect you vision, but all of life.

Have a great Friday!

Pastoral Commentary for Matthew 6
Author: Pastor Zach

This week has been a red letter one in the history of corporate America. Or, perhaps I should say it's been a red number one. For the numbers of one this country's most storied manufacturing companies, General Motors, were so terrible, showing some $172.81 billion in debt, that this behemoth of the auto industry was forced to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The effects of such a filing will no doubt be felt far and wide. Jobs lost. Factories shut down. Bondholders losing millions. Dealerships scrambling to remain open. This is a news story that is causing much consternation and worry across our great nation because, for so many, General Motors is much more than a headline, it's a livelihood.

When spoken into today's corporate context, it may seem as though Jesus' words from Matthew 6 ring a little hollow: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear" (verse 25). "Do not worry?" What do you mean, "Do not worry?" Jobs are being lost. Sources of income are evaporating. If ever there was a time to worry, this is a time to worry!

In some ways, Jesus' words seem to be almost nothing more than "pie in the sky" niceties. "Do not worry." Doesn't that sound nice? If only it were true. But we all know better. For life throws us inevitable curve calls that call for our immediate attention and, yes, even our worry.

This may come as a surprise to you, but I would agree with such an estimation of Jesus' words. To simply say, "Do not worry" is neither practical nor helpful. It is simply wishful thinking. I would agree with such an estimation of Jesus' words... if those were actually Jesus' words. But they're not.

Look carefully. What is Jesus' first word in Matthew 6:25? It's not a command: "Do not!" Rather, it's a connector: "Therefore." And in the Bible, whenever you see a "therefore," it's important to ask, "What is it there for?" For the word "therefore" is an important word in biblical literature. It's a word which connects what is getting ready to be said to that which has come before it. And what has come before this particular "therefore" is a veritable treasure trove of God's promises of provision.

Jesus promises, "Your Father... will reward you" (verse 4). He teaches us pray: "Give us today our daily bread" (verse 11). And he instructs us to hope not in "treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steel, but... [in] treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (verses 19-20). It is only in view of all this, in light of all this, and in trust of a heavenly Father who rewards and who provides daily bread and who offers eternal treasure, that Jesus continues, "Therefore, do not worry!" And Jesus offers this not as some lofty, impossible command, but as a humble invitation to trust that, just as God has already been faithful to us in the past with rewards and bread and treasure, he will continue to be faithful to us into the future by his grace.

Perhaps right now, you are riddled by worry. Rather than simply beating yourself up over your anxiety or throwing your hands up in utter despair over your inability to "not worry," allow me to invite you instead to rejoice in Jesus' "therefore." In fact, today, why don't you do a little exercise? Get a sheet of paper and turn it sideways. In the middle of the sheet write the word, "Therefore." Then, on the left side of that sheet, write all the ways in which God has provided for you in the past: with life, with food, with loved ones, with former jobs, with a current job, and so on and so forth. Then, on the right side of the page, write down the good blessings that could possibly come after Jesus' "therefore." If God has provided for you so heartily and mightily in the past, how might he provide for you in the future? And then study that list. And thank God for that list. And trust that God will provide according to his will. Who knows? In light of your list, it might even be a little easier to heed Jesus' invitation: "Therefore, do not worry." I hope it is.

Read Today's Scripture and Commentary on the Concordia website.

2020-07-10 17:53:46