During this period of uncertainty, when many are fearful of the future and concerned about meeting their personal obligations under an economic system that is increasingly oppressive, it is reassuring to read again our Lord’s words: “Do not store up your riches on earth, where moths and rust destroy them, and where thieves break in and steal them, but store up your riches in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. For wherever your treasure is, your heart will be also” (Matt: 6:19-28, Smith & Goodspeed Trans.). He added, “You cannot serve God and money.”
Jesus counseled His followers against undue worry, saying, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, wondering what you will have to eat or drink, or about your body, wondering what you will have to wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body than clothes? Look at the wild birds. They do not sow or reap, or store their food in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more account than they? But which of you, with all his worry, can add a single hour to his life? Why should you worry about clothing? ”
Then Jesus gave the illustration that has been quoted again and again, although few have learned the secret of its application to their daily living. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these” (Matt. 6:28-29).
After pointing out that the heathen spend their time in pursuit of money and material things, Jesus reminds us that our Heavenly Father is fully aware of our daily needs. He went on to explain that ample provision has been made to supply every requirement of God’s people and He gave the formula of faith that will bring this about: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness [that is, the laws of that kingdom]; and all these things [the necessities of life] shall be added [that is, given] unto you” (Matt. 6: 33). The implications of this statement are far-reaching indeed, for it contains a guarantee that when the kingdom of God is restored upon the earth, and its beneficent laws are in full operation, the needs of life will be supplied as a matter of course.
However, the stern admonition given by Moses is as applicable today as it was when he uttered it in conjunction with the original promulgation of the Law of the Lord at Mount Sinai: “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day, Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God . . . . But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant, which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deut. 8:11-19).
Meantime, through faith in the Lord, we can trust Him, even in spite of the inroads of personal adversity and economic attrition. If we make the Kingdom of God and its righteousness our chief concern, we will be able to act upon Jesus’ advice: “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have, worries of its own. Let each day be content with its own ills” (Matt. 6:34, Smith & Goodspeed Trans.).
It is well to bear in mind always that to the extent a Christian worries, to that extent he is failing to trust the Lord. To the extent that the Christian refuses to worry because he trusts the Lord, to that extent he demonstrates his faith in the Divine promise. And yet to trust the Lord does not mean the instant elimination of all our problems. It does mean that the implicit faith of men and women in the promises of God engenders the spiritual strength to face and overcome every obstacle. Moreover, regardless of circumstances, there is the added assurance of ultimate victory.
Written by Howard Rand, courtesy Documentary Studies
Editor’s Comments: I didn’t realize when I received a call about last month’s “Thought For The Month” that not everyone is familiar with Howard Rand’s works. He and Rev. Dr. William Pascoe Goard were probably the most informed Bible students and teachers of the 20th century. Mr. Rand, a lawyer by profession, was a prolific writer and his books and articles are still widely read. His three book “Documentary Studies” occupies the shelves of many of us today and is referred to often. He was the founder of Destiny Magazine and Destiny Publishers and his successors continue to teach the Gospel of the Kingdom from their offices in Merrimac, Mass. Mr Rand was a true servant of God Almighty.