MATTHEW 6:30_which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven…
The grass Jesus refers to is a pasture. The grass in the pasture has a purpose – more than one. It gives life by feeding the livestock that graze – for as long as its growing season.
If you have a pasture and are growing grasses such as alfalfa, clover, ryegrass, fescue, or wheatgrass, then you have something beyond the growing season – hay. When the grass is tall enough, pull it to find the seed head. You know it’s ready to cut. You don’t want the seed to reach the top. When the grass is cut and baled, it is ready to put up for winter feeding. Hay provides nourishment for livestock during the months the grass is not growing.
If you grow wheat in your pasture, the left over stalks can be cut for straw. Straw furnishes good bedding material for livestock in barns. Straw can also be bundled and used to start fires.
Have you noticed a common theme in the purposes of the grass? Grass gives up itself to nurture life for something else. When Jesus says, “which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven,” the grass doesn’t sound too useful. But, the grass has a purpose in life and death.
Did it fulfill life before death?
Holy God, I want to fulfill my purpose in life! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to fulfill my life purpose—He helps me!
MATTHEW 6:26_Are ye not much better than they?
Do you agree with Jesus’ question? Are you better than the birds? Better in what kind of way? Better looking? Hmm, when’s the last time you’ve seen a Roseate Spoonbill? A Franklin’s Gull? A Red-breasted Merganser? A Wood Duck? An American Goldfinch? A Cardinal? An Eastern Bluebird, or a Mountain Bluebird? And it would be hard for me to decide who is more handsome – the Indigo Bunting, the Painted Bunting, or the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak? If you are not familiar with these, look them up. Talk about good looks?!
Perhaps, you think you are far more useful to the world, than a bird. Well, farmers and gardeners sure welcome the handsome Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. One of the Grosbeak’s favorite meals is potato beetles – they like the larvae as well. Talk about intelligent design!!
On the other hand, when I see Godly people performing self-sacrificing deeds, making wise decisions, and spreading love in the world, I don’t think there is any greater part of creation.
Yes, I think God considers us much better than animals. He gives us the opportunity to bear the name of Christ when we become Christians.
I believe God thinks very highly of the only creation made in His image.
God of Intelligent Design, Praise You for the opportunities You give me to be like You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ values me over all creation—I praise Him!
MATTHEW 5:44_But I say unto you, love your enemies…
As we have seen over and again, there is an order in which Jesus presents His teachings. If we can get our minds wrapped around the cheek turning, cloak giving, second mile going, and giving away – learning how to love our enemies will come much easier.
The first four guidelines lead us into the self-sacrificing mode. The giving more than receiving mode. The putting others before ourselves mode.
Now we are ready to see how powerful love really can be. After all, if we can love our enemies – we can love anybody!
Why do we even want to love our enemy? Because Jesus said to.
Why did He say to? Because Jesus desires all people to be loved.
We are called to be salt and light to everyone – especially the unloved. There is a reason Jesus called disciples in the first place – to teach them how to live free. They teach and make more disciples. Disciples share the truth with the world through the Bible. Jesus chooses to share His love through disciples.
Get salty! Light up!
Lord of All, I want to be Your disciple through whom You love people. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ chooses disciples—I want to be one!
MATTHEW 5:41_And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
The word compel here is translated as to dispatch. To send out a courier. A courier carries messages. If you were hired to carry a message to someone a mile away, but when you got there you discovered they had moved on – what would you do? Would you bring the message back to the one who hired you, or would you keep looking for the recipient?
You were only hired for the mile, and that is all you were paid for. You may never be paid for the extra miles, if you decide to keep looking. All of this takes place in a time before cells, texts, etc. You have to physically hunt down this person.
If you gave your best effort to do the job, it is not your fault the recipient could not be found. This is a case of you being good. If you took extra effort and completed the job – requiring more of your time, and possibly never getting paid, you were doing good.
There is something to see over and over in these teachings – selflessness.
Don’t forget the play. The good guy is going through all these hardships. No one has come to his aide.
Jesus Lord, I want to hear You when You dispatch me on a mission. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ compels me to good works—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:24_first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Nothing in this life is worth the bondage of the spirits of darkness. Spiritual bondage is void of light – a place of deep darkness. It thrives on anger, bitterness, hate, and unforgiveness. Spiritual bondage weakens the soul and brings it into despair. Again, nothing in life is worth allowing your spirit, heart, and soul to be in bondage.
Be reconciled. Come in freedom, and offer your gift. God receives your gift with joy and blesses you. As you grow physically and spiritually, your gift will grow, shining in your countenance and in your life. It will cause you to gain wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Your light will bless all who cross your path – “all that are in the house.”
God possesses the greatest treasure – love. He bestows love upon you – which flows to other people. The more you love God, the more you’ll find you have the ability to love people. The more you love God, the more you’ll find self-sacrifice becomes a byproduct of your life – because you learn to love others more than yourself.
Do you want your life to be more of Jesus, and less of you?
God of Love, I want who You are to shine in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ loves me—He wants me to love His people!