Week 1: Getting Started
Day 5 – Our Treasure Box: Matthew 6:1-4; Matthew 6:19-34; Luke 12:22-48
We have some strange neighbors. I mean, really strange. They’ve never taken the time to build a house. They never go grocery shopping. They don’t give any thought to what they are going to wear each day. They just sit out in our neighbor’s field –hundreds of them at a time – and do nothing all day. They never seem to need anything. It’s as if someone has taken care of all their needs. Because He has. They are an enormous flock of Canadian Geese, and God has done for them exactly as He promised – He meets their every need.
He has promised to do the same for us. The passages we are looking at today have no direct connection with the fatherless. That is, the word fatherless is not used in it anywhere, nor are the words widow, stranger, etc. But an important principle lies within them that is key to overcoming one of the major barriers to reaching the fatherless.
Orphan ministries, widow ministries, ministries to immigrants, prison ministries, adoption – you name it, they all take money. In fact, they generally take more money than we can imagine in our foreseeable future. But God isn’t worried about that. Nor does He want us to be worried about it.
In Luke 12:24-29 God compares his provision for the flowers and birds to His provision for us: “Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take you thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.”
Have you ever watched grass burn? Doesn’t take long does it? One day I was standing on my front porch and I saw smoke rising from the hills south of town. I got out my binoculars and could see the flames racing through the prairie grass, even from eight miles away. And yet, even though God knew how quickly that grass could be destroyed with a little flame, He designed it with great intricacy. He watered it and put the nutrients that it would need to grow into the soil around its roots. If God cares for the grass that much, How much more will He meet our needs?
Sometimes it is hard to see past the needs that we know will arise if we dare to step out into this type of ministry. Sometimes it is difficult to make a decision to give up something that we have in order to meet the needs of others, not knowing how or when that thing will be replaced. But Jesus didn’t want us to worry about these things. “For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” (Luke 12:30)
One of the primary reasons that we are to be reaching out to the fatherless and the widows is to glorify God by showing that He is the one in whom they can find mercy. But, if we have never learned to trust Him in the moments in which WE need mercy, how can we expect them to do so?
First, of course, we must have come to trust His mercy in the area of our sin and His forgiveness. This is the area of our greatest need and theirs. By then committing to trust Him for our every need, our lives become a living picture of His faithful provision – His mercy. If we don’t step out of our worry zone and into faith, we are still walking in the mindset of the world.
God’s desire is for us to turn our concern from the things of this world to the things of His Kingdom. He has promised to give us the things that we need. In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus gives the reason why this is such an important concept, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
What is your most valuable resource? Is it your money or, perhaps, it is your time? Your talents? Whatever it is, how are you spending it? What are you investing it in? That is a good indicator of where your heart is.
The next section of Matthew 6 takes us a little deeper into the subject: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:21-24)
In case you are wondering, “mammon” is just a fancy word for money.
So, what is this saying? That we should all quit our jobs? No. Although, at times it may be necessary in order to fully invest our lives in others and the ministry God has called us to. But here, it is saying that we need to be careful that our eye is fixed on God’s kingdom and not our job. God has put each of us into different fields. He has given us different talents and interests. He wants us to use those talents and interests so that we can be a light– but He doesn’t want us to become so fixed on earning money that we cannot focus on serving Him. This is one reason living debt free is so very important. It may mean that you don’t have all the toys that your neighbor has, but it keeps you from being servant to something other than God.
On the other hand, sometimes the fear of not having money can prevent us from doing what we know we should. Back in Luke 12, Jesus said very simply “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” He doesn’t want us to be afraid to serve Him. He wants us to trust Him. In fact, in the next verse He takes it even further than what we have touched on so far, but we will get into that later.
Jesus summed it all up when He said, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment.” (Matthew 6:25) As long as we are “taking thought for our life” we have yet to fully step out of the selfish mindset that characterizes the world. Does this mean that we are not to provide for our families, or for ourselves for that matter? No. Each of us has true needs: food, clothing, housing, etc. But where God calls us to give, our concern for those needs is not to hold us back from obedience. That is where faith takes over.
What is keeping you from reaching out to the fatherless? Is it time? Is it money? Is there something you are afraid to invest because you are holding it too tightly? Perhaps you are already fully invested in seeking the Kingdom of God. That is wonderful! But if God is burdening you with the needs of these children (and their counterpart groups) and you are hesitant to step out, take some time to figure out why. Entrust that resource that you are afraid to spend into the Lord’s hand – He is an amazing accountant!
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over…” (Luke 6:38)
Wherever you’re laying up your treasure – That’s where your heart is.
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Also Check out Rachel Miller’s Book: The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption