Thursday, January 31, 2008

Where do you find your security?

In Matthew 6:24-34 Jesus taught us it's impossible to serve two masters. He illustrates this by saying we "cannot serve both God and money." But he could just as easily have said we "cannot serve both God and government," for his teaching is all about where we find our security. “Therefore I tell you," Jesus says, "do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" And a few verses later he concludes:

...the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

People with a non-Kingdom mindset ("'pagans") instinctively try to find their security in whatever they think will ensure that their self-interests are met (minimally, food, clothing and shelter). They "run after" these things. This is why they serve money and why they worry incessantly. But Kingdom people are to "run after "only one thing: the reign of God. Part of what this means is that we should trust that God will provide for our basic needs and not worry about ensuring our own self-interests.

We've seen in previous blogs that the reason we have governments is because the fallen human race finds it hard (impossible?) to trust God. Like the ancient Israelites, we want rulers to protect our self-interests (I Sam. 8). This is why people with a non-Kingdom mindset "run after" and worry about politics. So much of their self-interest is at stake! But Kingdom people are empowered to trust God to provide for them and thus to be be freed from these preoccupations.

I don't believe this entails that we can't participate in the political process. In a democracy we are invited to give our opinion about how things should be run, so if you're so inclined, go ahead and give it (whether by voting or participating in some other way). But this passage definitely entails that we should not serve, chase after, or worry about these matters. Our total trust is in God, for whom all the governments of the world are "less than nothing" (Isa 40:15-17).

You cannot serve two masters. If your allegiance is to the reign of God, it cannot be to anything else -- including money and government.

Stay centered on the King,