Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sermon for 9/20/2020: Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Mammon is simply the things which our Father has given you. You wouldn’t have any of that if our Lord hadn’t given it to you. Martin Luther teaches according to Scripture, “I believe that God has…given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.” All the kids who go through the Catechism learn that list. God is so generous, and yet so often it seems as if the gift attracts our attention and receives our praise more than the One who gives it.

Do we really serve and worship our possessions? Yes, we do. We crassly covet what our neighbor has, and we put our faith and confidence in what we have. We’re all about the stuff. We think we are are happy when we have what we think we need, what we believe is necessary, what we want to eat, and what to wear. If we just have the right car, the right house, the right job, the right seat at the lunch table, the right video game system... The list is endless, because the list, no matter how long it is, is never enough. We always want more, and the more we have, the more we want.

When we don't have everything we think we need, we begin to worry about what will happen tomorrow. We fret as if God will not tend to us, as if He will not richly and daily provide for us in this life. We worry as if the Father has forgotten what we need. And this is true of us as a congregation, as well. The Lord has blessed us for many years, and yet we question His goodness: Can we afford to keep our doors open? Can we afford to pay the pastor? Will we be around as a congregation in five years? We don’t have the answers. Only God knows, and He refuses to tell us what He has planned. Wouldn’t we trust You more, Lord, if You revealed the future? Wouldn’t it be easier for us to believe?

But the truth is, He has already revealed the future to us. Our Lord calls us out of our unbelief to learn from the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. He feeds birds of the air, who don't work or store up things at all. He clothes the lilies of the field. In fact, King Solomon in all His glory isn't dressed up like one lily in the field. He gives them all that they need in this life. Do you believe that He does that for you? That is the future: Our Lord will provide for you, day by day, for the rest of your life, and then for eternity. He tells us this. He shows us this. Every day He reveals this to us. But we doubt. We worry. We despair.

There was One who truly did believe. Jesus lived His life as one who trusted His Father for everything that He needed to support His life. He did not love mammon, but served and loved His Father in Heaven. He took upon Himself our sins, our unbelief, our fears, and our worrying, all the way to the Cross. In His death He has provided all that you need for salvation. What shall you wear? He clothes you in the blood-washed white robe of His own righteousness in your Baptism. What shall you eat? He gives you His own body to eat and His blood to drink in and under bread and wine for the forgiveness of all your sins and the strengthening of your faith. Faith looks to what Christ did on the Cross as all the certainty you need, both in this world and for the life of the world to come.

As we wait for that eternal day, trust in your Father to provide for your daily life as well. He feeds the birds. He clothes the flowers. He provides for your eternity. Faith receives all things as gift from Him. So if He provides for the littlest things of creation, and if He provides for your biggest need in your eternal salvation, you can trust Him to provide for your bodily needs. Don't worry. Don't fret. In Christ Jesus, you are worth more than birds and lilies. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen.

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