In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus said, “Consider the birds of the air - they don’t worry about food - so don’t worry about your life.”
Well – that’s fine if you’re a bird. They don’t even know how to sow or reap - so why should they worry about it. They don’t have car and house payments. They don’t have to pay school loans and medical insurance.
Then Jesus says, “Consider the flowers of the field, they don’t toil or spin.” Well, that’s fine if you are a lily.
The birds and the flowers don’t have anything to worry about - but I have plenty. I have insurance and car to make payments. I have a family - and responsibilities in abundance. So, I can’t be carefree like the birds of the air - and the lilies of the field!
Jesus is not saying that we should be carefree! He is not saying we should be like the birds or the lilies. That is impossible. We have brains - and God expects us to use them. God gave us the ability to sow and reap - and gather - and plan for the future.
Jesus meant about considering the birds and the flowers - because God cares for them. They are unable to think and plan ahead. So, God’s infinite wisdom cares for them. The birds can’t grow their own food - so God provides food for them to eat. The flowers are incapable of producing clothing - so God clothes them amazingly.
And if God cares for them - how much more will God care for us. This is one of the foundations of Christian Generosity. I know you usually think of “Generosity” as giving. But “Provision” is a part of Generosity too. If God provides generously for birds and wild flowers that wilt with the first frost - then God will certainly care for us who are created in God’s image.
That doesn’t mean we don’t plan ahead. We still have to act responsibly. But we don’t have to worry. Not as we are unaware like the birds or the flowers - but because we know that God will provide. We plan and work - but we don’t worry - because we trust in God’s generosity.
That’s a redeeming. I can think of the future - but I don’t have to worry about it! It may be releasing - but it is not easy to come by. I was with a group of pastors one day. We were discussing church finances. One pastor expressed concern for offerings had declined at his church. He was concerned as his salary came out of the offerings.
Then one asked, “Is that offering really the source of your salary?” We all agreed on theological level it wasn’t. God is the source of generosity for all our needs. The money that was used to pay the pastor might have come out of the funds placed in the offering plate - but God provides what we need.
God cares for the birds and the flowers - will provide for our needs. The company you work for often sends you a check that provides for your needs. But it is the vehicle God uses to provide for your needs. God is the one who provides. We can all agree with that in our heads - but it is a little harder to affirm it in our hearts.
God is the source of generosity for all our needs.
Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth ... but store up treasures in heaven.” If God is the true source of our generosity - then shouldn’t that be the place we invest ourselves. Shouldn’t our lives be invested in the Kingdom of God!
Jesus tells us that what is invested in this world will pass away. So, in this world - moths and rust - and the whims of the market can take our investments away. But what we invest in the Kingdom of God endures forever.
When we give to the church - we are investing in the Kingdom of God. The amount of money you pledge are your investment in the Kingdom of God. It will go into the ministries of the church - or into the missions to the homeless and those in needs. So, let us not worry – but invest in the Kingdom of God!
Like Jesus said, “You can’t have two masters - You can’t serve God and wealth.” If you serve wealth - you will always be worried about what you will eat - and what you will drink - and what you will wear. But if you invest your life in God - God will provide for you - just as God provides for the birds and the flowers. Shalom and Amen!