Three weeks ago we started a short series on what it looks like to follow Jesus in the midst of busy lives, lives where we feel pressured by so many expectations and distractions.
What does following Jesus look like day-to-day? How do we do what life demands while also finding time to cultivate a real-life relationship with Jesus?
The answer is in actually following Jesus, not just in the abstract I’m-a-Christian-because-I’ve-been-baptized sense, but actually walking in his footsteps, doing what he did, learning to do life like he did it.
And how did he do it?
Sunday we’ll focus on how Jesus lived his life in view of possessions.
As far as his life was concerned, he possessed very little, having been born to poor Jewish peasants. When he died he apparently owned nothing except the clothes that he was wearing.
And what he said about the temptations of money was pretty harsh, as you probably remember. He saw that stuff got in the way of real discipleship, so he wasn’t shy about pointing it out.
I hope you’ll notice something interesting in the passage above from Matthew 6. You’ve heard it before–“You cannot serve God and money”–but look a little closer. He doesn’t say that we “shouldn’t” serve God and money, but that we “cannot.” I think it’s important to notice that Jesus isn’t giving us another command, telling us that we shouldn’t do both. He’s reflecting on the nature of reality . . . it is simply impossible to serve God and money.
What he says about possessions completely counters the American way, though, doesn’t it? Our economic system is based on buying and consuming, and then buying and consuming more, and then more, and so on.
Advertisers make millions when they’re good at convincing us that we need more stuff, and that if we can get it, we’ll be happier and more content.
But of course it’s a lie.
Jesus calls us to something simpler, something better. He calls us to see possessions for what they are and for us not to put on them more than they can bear. What we need are the necessities of life . . . anything beyond that won’t add any real value to our lives.