Skipping the “Therefore”
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:24-25 (NKJV)
Take a good look at the passage of Scripture that I am using today to get us started. Now tell me, given the context of what Jesus is saying here, do you really think it is a good idea to split these two verses from each other? I ask you this because I notice that, at times, this passage of Scripture gets discussed apart from each other. And when it does get cut in two verse 25 loses its “Therefore I say to you” segue. We need that “therefore” there to connect the whole flow, so that we understand that we are called to thought before we can be called to action. Now granted I am not giving you the entire call but it certainly ends with, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.”
When we read the story of Ai in Joshua 7 we encounter a fellow named Achan. Achan confesses to Joshua that during the raid on Jericho he grabbed himself some of the spoils or dare I say God’s “firstfruits”. What was meant as an offering to YHVH, Achan coveted, took, and buried. He brought into the camp that which was meant to satisfy YHVH’s wrath not to make Achan financially secure (not too smart, dude). Everything in Jericho was meant to be firstfruits to YHVH and Ai was going to be a continuance of the offerings but Achan skipped the “therefore”. No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and mammon…Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life. To do anything contrary is idolatry.
Judas Iscariot skipped “Therefore’s” and some of us would agree he skipped more than Achan, but it only took one for Achan. In the New Testament we can read a few times where we can see that Judas wouldn’t take the time to connect to the thought to the action. After Lazarus was raised from the tomb, his sister Mary “therefore” took a pound of expensive ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus with it. Judas went BO-LLISTIC over that action and yelled out something about selling the stuff for some money to help the needy (yeah right Judas). To which Jesus replied, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me.”
John Stott would have this to say about serving masters, “So anybody who divides his allegiance between God and mammon has already given it to mammon, since God can be served only with an entire and exclusive devotion.” With that in mind it would seem to me that Achan really relied on what was tangible, maybe he only heard about the parting of the Red Sea and those other miracles performed in the desert. Judas was rumored to pilfer right from the very money bag that support The Saviors ministry work while He was here on earth. In either case they didn’t rely on YHVH for what they shall eat or drink or wear or whatever else they needed.
We get the “Therefore’s” after the call to thought, so that when the action hits we understand “as a result” or “for that reason” there has been something to follow. Unfortunately there are times when we are living right in the call to think it over first so we can take the bridge and therefore cross over it into action. Without a clear understanding to come to “rest” with a call to thought we can trip and fall into the action. Today’s Scripture verse is an example of why it is so very important not to isolate the Word of God when He invites us to look carefully and calmly at all options, weigh them up and then receive the call for action, all with a simple “Therefore.” Amen? – Chris Hughes graduated from the Colony of Mercy and is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger
Think About This: “And when the choice is seen for what it is—a choice between Creator and creature, between the glorious personal God and a miserable thing called money, between worship and idolatry—it seems inconceivable that anybody could make the wrong choice.”—John Stott
Verses to Memorize: “But wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18