Note: The numbers in the text of scripture are footnote references. These footnotes will follow immediately after the text of scripture and the post will conclude with the commentary.
Matt 6:24-34~”No man can serve two masters 2; you cannot serve God and mammon 3. Therefore 4, I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? 5 Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns : and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you 6 of much more value than they? Consider the lilies 7 of the field how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is to-day and to-morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? 8 Be not solicitous, therefore, saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek you, therefore, first the kingdom of God, and His justice 9, and all these things shall be added 10 unto you.”
Footnotes~2 Two masters, i. e. two whose interests are opposed to each other and who require different services of you.
3 Mammon. i. e. riches.
4 Therefore. That you may not fall into worshipping mammon by reason of an over-anxiety about the needs of this life.
5 The raiment. God, having given you the greater things, such as your body and your life, will surely also provide for such lesser things as food, clothing &c.
6 Are not you? Shall not God provide for you who do sow and reap?
7 The lilies. These grow by the wayside in Palestine, and are of the most brilliant colours.
8 O ye of little faith. Who have so little and such weak faith, and so little confidence in God’s Providence.
9 His justice. All that makes you just before God, i. e. grace and virtue.
10 Be added. Whatever is necessary for this earthly life shall be given to
you as well.
A PRACTICAL COMMENTARY ON SACRED SCRIPTURE
What This Passage Teaches Us.
The Goodness of God. God provides for all His creatures. He feeds the birds of the air and adorns the flowers of the field with beautiful colours. He is the most loving Father to us men, and Him we have to thank for body and life, food and drink, dwelling and raiment.
Confidence in God. Are we, then, to take no thought for the things
of this life, such as food and clothing? Yes; we must, according to
our abilities, provide for them, but we are not to be over-anxious, and
must trust in the goodness, wisdom and power of God. We must work,
but we must also pray; for all our efforts will be quite useless without
the blessing of God.
Care for our salvation must be our chief concern as Christians.
Before everything else we must try to attain to the kingdom of heaven,
i. e. to save our souls, and for this end we must live in the grace of
God and strive ceaselessly after His “justice”. A true love of ourselves
demands this of us, for our soul is more precious than our body, and
we ought to seek its interests first.
Covetousness, or the worship of mammon. He who “serves” mammon
is the man who fondly considers the gaining and increasing of riches to
be the greatest business of life, and neglects the worship of God and
the care of his own soul, not even shrinking from such sins as theft,
usury and perjury, if they will enable him to add to his wealth.
The right use of worldly possessions consists in using them for God
and in the practice of good works. Holy men, such as Abraham, Job
and Tobias, possessed great riches, but they were not slaves to them.
On the contrary, they made their wealth serve them, and expended it
in the service of God and their neighbour.
Good works. All good works, such as works of piety, mortification
and brotherly love, are treasures laid up in heaven. When we die, we
must leave all earthly things, even our very bodies, behind us: only our
good works will go with us, and procure for us a favourable judgment.