In the name of the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit.
O Lord, we implore You, let Your continual pity cleanse and defend Your Church; and because she cannot continue in safety without Your aid, preserve her evermore by Your help and goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
24[Jesus said:] “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.
25“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Capitalism believes that the free market will determine the values of things. You can charge whatever people are willing to pay. Economic factors like supply and demand determine values as well as the quality of the goods and services being rendered. How many conversations in our American context revolve around discussing the value of things? We always want the most bang for our buck.
However, the value of the most precious things in life cannot measure by human wants or our willingness to pay. The value of a human life is not determined by how much they want, how useful they are, or how much they want to live. The value of every human life comes from outside oneself, from the very mouth and Word of the Divinity, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Not only that, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” The Godhead has redeemed us with His own body and blood. That is why we are more valuable than birds. Our fall into sin dragged the entire creation with us, the birds are innocent of sin. However, we are not. We are guilty, so the Lord took up our flesh to redeem us from sin and the curse of death. In other words, God values us twofold. He gave us life and breath and all that we have from the beginning. And then, after we rebelled, He gave us His Son. That is your value: the life of the Son, the price He was willing to pay to restore us to His image and righteousness forever.
Capitalism is on to something. It teaches that you can know the value of something by seeing what people are willing to pay. You know what God paid for you, you were redeemed not by silver or gold, but by the precious blood of the Christ. Capitalism is also onto the theologically significant trail of what or who your god is.
When you make money or wealth your god and serve it, or constantly worry and daydream about it, you cheapen your own life. You are giving up to the thought that your value as a person is determined by money and material things. This is the American religion. We say “In God We Trust” on our money, however that dollar holds more of the American imagination than God does.
Just think of how we even evaluate people by their economic value. We call ourselves and others “consumers”. People have children when they think they can afford them and they abort them when they will inconvenience themselves or the society. There’s a growing number of couples who forego children because they want more money and free time. They find more fulfillment in things and vacations than they do the love and sacrifices that other human being require. Money has become the measure of the good life, the successful life, the life worth having. This is one of the most soul destroying and dehumanizing doctrines in existence. Money is neutral, but as James said, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
We must repent. Jesus says we cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve God and money. We agree. We say that we worship one God, the only true God, in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. None of us would dare say, “I worship money or vacations or retirement, or my boat.” However, we don’t need to look too closely to know wealth and things can capture too much of our attention. What do we worry about? What do we fantasize about? Why do we think that money can solve all our problems and make us worry free? It does not. Repent. We are wrong. Anytime we worry or spend inordinate amounts of time with wealth and money we are under attack. It is sin and the Evil One trying to make us serve two masters, to divide and separate us from our true love.
Jesus is not say don’t think of money at all. Just before our lesson He taught us to pray “give us this day our daily bread.” What he’s saying is to keep material things in their rightful place, on earth. Don’t confuse them for heaven and certainly do not confuse them for God. They cannot save you. No one has ever been truly forgiven by someone else because they paid them off. Likewise, there is nothing you can pay for salvation. No person has saved themselves from death because they wrote a check large enough to cover their life. Only one person could foot that bill. He said, “Tetelestai”, “It is finished” or “paid in full” as the Romans used the word on a bill of sale. Your worth more than all the money in the world because your ransom price is the blood of God.
And His payment is in rich supply. The supply of God’s riches will never fall short of demand, rather there is always surplus. Not because no one wants it, but because God is that good and that generous. Like with widow of Zarephath whose oil and flour were never empty through the famine, so the salvation poured on you at Baptism and the bread of life fed to you never run out.
Those who worship wealth and all of its pitfalls shall perish with their god. Not you. Not us. You are baptized into Christ. You have a glory awaiting you not worth comparing to all the riches of this world. You are safe and secure in the hands of Jesus who died for you and rose again. That is enough. You are worth more than the food that you eat and the clothes that you wear. You are more valuable than the birds of the air for whom God supplies. He will supply you also. Christ is enough always.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses;
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory
forever and ever.
The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with us all.