Matthew 6 (NSRV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[j] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look 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?27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[k] 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God[l] and his[m]righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
We have just celebrated one of my favorite holidays of the year. My wife and I get a kick out of bringing everyone over to our house and doing the cooking. We have locked in on the Alton Brown Brining technique for preparing the turkey for cooking and it has turned out great every time. We go through the recipes and determine the times and temperatures and find the compatible foods to cook together so we can have everything done in time for our family and guests to arrive. And it is so much fun working together on Thanksgiving, the project. We have so much to be thankful for but sadly it isn’t hard to stop being content with what we have.
Ever wanted something so bad it became all you ever thought about? When I watch the movie each year, The Christmas Story, and I think about that little boy fixated on the Red Ryder BB Gun and everyone telling him, you will shoot your eye out, and of course I don’t want to spoil the ending in case you somehow haven’t seen it, but isn’t that about how things turn out when we get so focused on the wrong things?
Now some of you probably love fancy cars, some of you may even have one. My dream car was a Porsche 911. Growing up, I was going to be a Rock Star and be a millionaire by the time I was 21 and that was the car I was going to buy. Spoiler Alert, none of that happened. not the millionaire part, nor the Porsche, or even the Rock Star part. But it is okay, I am fine with that. I made peace with that.
Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion said,
“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.”
Now when you substitute dreams, even impractical ones, we often rationalize them. For example, the practical side of me says, well, there are really only two seats in the car I wanted. I don’t want my small kids in the front seat of the car because it is dangerous. The visor above the front seats in most cars these days says, at least 12 years old and at least 100 pounds. This is because airbags can come out with so much force that they could seriously injure a child. So with only front seats in the Porsche, not happening. Then there is the fuel economy. You do not save a lot of gas in a car that can do Zero to 60 in less than 6 seconds. That isn’t what you are buying it for. And then, there is the car insurance. Those fancy cars cost a lot more to insure. They are more likely to be driven recklessly. They are more likely to be stolen. So it becomes a risky car so the insurance company makes you pony up more money to cover it. Oh, and unless you did become a millionaire, there are the car payments. I can easily buy two very fuel efficient Toyota Corollas for the price of one Porsche, maybe even three or four or more. But I only need one and the kids and I like to eat. Some cars have payments that look like house payments to me or at least rent payments. All of this to say, I rationalized away my desire for a Porsche 911 car. And because of that I am okay with that.
While I was younger, I became fixated on cars but as we get older we can get fixated on other things. I don’t know how many of you know it but I do some DJ work on the side, weddings, anniversary parties, charity events. This takes the place of my dream of being a Rock Star. I get to play music, see people be happy. It is a lot of fun. I don’t want to do it too often so I don’t advertise. Usually it is a friend of a friend or a family member or even someone who has just heard around I do it. Sometime or another I can tell you a longer story about how I got the DJ equipment in the first place. But anyway, I have an old laptop computer, really old in computer years, 8 or 9 years old. I had a couple of gigs where my laptop acted up a little bit right in the middle of the show. Thankfully I am pretty resourceful and I had a backup plan. I have seen the indications for a while that my computer was wanting to stop playing well with others. I am a recovering perfectionist. I want things to work perfectly. As I have gotten older I have allowed myself to fail gracefully more. But when it comes to my creative sides, I am a perfectionist. I had designs on buying a new laptop. I visited the company’s website on so many occasions. I had visited their store in every town I happened to be in that had one. I was a little obsessed but the practical side of me said, we are absolutely not going in debt to buy it. I would go to their web site and “build” my perfect computer. Some of you have probably gone to the Car Maker’s website and put together your perfect car. Well, leather seats are sure nice except when it is a hot day and the kids pour sodas and stuff onto the seats. And that in dash system with the maps and driving directions and all of that. Oh and these days, and that talks to my cell phone so I can play my music on the speakers in the car and maybe even talk to people on the phone if I absolutely have to. You can go to a Home Depot website and put up a picture of your room at home and change the wall color so you can see what the paint might look like when you paint your rooms. Isn’t technology beautiful?
But when you get ready to buy that car, you have realized there are things you will have to compromise on to allow you to get that car into your budget. So maybe the rally sport package isn’t that important as it adds another $2400 to the cost of the car and well, that would make your payment this and that and finally, you know, maybe I don’t really need the leather seats. You know maybe even the radio is optional. I can always add one later.
So while I could go to the website and build my perfect computer, I could not pay for it. It was out of my reach. So I tried to be practical. I narrowed it down to what I absolutely had to have. And there are some things I can add after the fact. But there are things I can’t. Like the car, I have to pick the exact motor I want it to have because changing the motor out is a cost prohibitive adventure. So I had whittled down my ultimate computer to being close to my budget.
We needed to do some work on the house so we rallied up the money to pay for some expensive repairs. The house was settling and there was a big hump forming in the middle of the kitchen and it just seemed to be getting worse and worse. We have cracks in the sheetrock in a couple of places and they happened before that earthquake we all felt a couple of years back that shock everybody’s house. So I couldn’t call insurance company and blame it on that. And we need a new front door and screen. The screen was barely hanging out and the front door had so much air coming in a round it, I think we had to run the heat a lot more to make up for it in the Fall and Winter months, and there was some other work. So we got it together and had the repairs done. Took several months between scheduling people, getting stuff ordered and in. So it all was finally coming together. I did a DJ gig in the middle of that time for one of my aunt’s and my computer just went stupid right in the middle of it. That was the last straw. So I asked my financial consultant, can I buy a new laptop. You know who that is right, my wife. She said, as long as it doesn’t impact the house repairs because that was what I was going to borrow from to buy the computer. Deal.
So I went to the website and they have refurbished computers that they will still sell you warranties support on. That saved a couple of hundred dollars so I ordered my computer. And I get it home finally. I am feeling buyer’s remorse because I had to make some sacrifices. I couldn’t afford the Rally sport package or the leather seats for it. I bought it with less memory and smaller hard drive or storage. But it was going to be fine.
I took the afternoon off from work just to make sure UPS didn’t leave me one of those notes, we tried to deliver something that had to be signed and you weren’t there. So I am there when it arrives and I go into the house and I slowly open it up. And it is amazing. So sleek and beautiful and fast. After I had gotten past that part of the process, the opening and setup. I started to copy the files off of my old computer to it. It was then that I realized that would not fit. I did not realize that I had so many songs on my other laptop. I had only planned to copy my files I work with and my music and that was it from the old laptop. I didn’t check. Oh, these first world problems as I like to call them. Problems that are more nuisance than problem. There are people starving in the world and I am obsessed about this laptop. And I firmly believe the Devil uses situations like to to make sport of us. To really show us who we are deep down, at least who we are in his eyes. But this isn’t how we are in the eyes of God. God knows about our obsessions and motivations. If we turn to him, he forgives us and helps us see what our priorities are.
God puts in us a craving for him. We are born with a place in our soul that is unfilled and through life some of us try everything to fill that void within us. We may use drugs or alcohol or try to make large sums of money, success, fame, we find substitutes for what we truly need in our life. We are working so hard to fill that void and we do not think about what makes sense to fill that place in our life. I have been there a time or two or ten. I have gotten distracted. I have taken my eye off the prize as the saying goes.
How many of us here like to put jigsaw puzzles together? My wife does. She used to work on big 1,000 plus piece puzzles and they would sit on a puzzle table we bought, okay, actually it was one of those dinner trays you put beside the couch to watch TV and eat dinner but it works as a puzzle table too. Once things settled down after work she would work to complete the puzzle. Some would go together really fast and some were just a challenge. Tough puzzles.
I have often thought we are like a jigsaw puzzle that is missing one piece. And we will go through so many interactions with different things we think will fill that place, that puzzle piece spot. We strive to fill that place with our own methods and ways. Like we have the ability to fill a hole put in us by God. We will not be truly happy until we put God into our lives and God will make our puzzle whole, complete.
“The latest global statistic shows that if one has a roof over his head and a meal on his table he is richer than 93 percent of the world’s population. If a person wears a pair of shoes he is richer than 75 percent of the people in the world. In the United States alone, credit card debt averages more than $16,000 per household, and we are still discontented. Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived, said, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).”
We have so many things to be thankful for this year. The world is a scary place but we all woke up this morning and we were able to freely come to church today. And we didn’t feel threatened by anything that made us fearful to walk outside of our houses. And hopefully this is true of all of us but we had enough food to eat and there is a roof over our heads. We may have woke up with some aches and pains but nothing that kept us from moving around the house, getting ready, and coming to church. Hopefully you got to spend time with family on Thanksgiving or some time during this holiday season you plan to spend time with family at some point. And those are blessed moments even if family members say crazy things we don’t agree with. I heard on the radio a debate about Thanksgiving and if we should talk about politics or religion at the table. I say do not talk about either of those. Instead, talk about our Faith in God. And the blessings he has placed in our lives. If we put our faith in God whenever we even think of worrying, we will become content. My kids often say to me “I need this or I need that”. I ask them, do you know the difference between want or need? Needs are those things that we can’t live without, food for example is a need. But the latest Xbox game is a want. It is a shame that we have to get older to achieve wisdom. It seems it is only when we are older do we start to realize what contentment in Christ is. Putting our needs into God’s hands and allowing him to provide for us. As Jesus said in the Book of Matthew Chapter 6,
31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God[l] and his[m]righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
So as you go through your day to day activites, be content. Place your worries in the hands of the Lord and let them go.
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are so blessed today in so many ways. We have worries that distract up from you, Lord. Help us to not be distracted but to be thankful for all you have done for us. Fill the void in our souls Lord so that we feel contented with what we have and where are life is. These things we ask in your name,