Don’t worry about money

We cannot serve both God and money, and we should not worry about material needs. Should we quit our jobs, forsake worldly occupations, and renounce all possessions?

The Master chided the disciples for worrying over life’s necessities. He called them “men of little faith” (Luke 12:28). He instructed His disciples to set aside their anxieties about life’s necessities. He told them not to worry over their material needs.

In the open-air setting of the Mount of Beatitudes, the Master could point to the birds as an example. Birds do not make bread. They do not sow and reap; they do not store food in granaries; “yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matthew 6:26). He pointed to the wild flowers which, in the springtime, grow in abundance on the Mount of Beatitudes. The flowers of the field do not spin wool or sew fabric, yet “not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these” (Luke 12:27). “He himself will give you raiment,” Yeshua said. He argued from the light to the heavy: “If God feeds birds (and you are more valuable than birds) how much more so will he feed you? If God clothes the grass (and you are more valuable than grass) how much more so will he clothe you?”

Likewise, the Talmud says, “He who has bread in his basket today yet worries, ‘What will I eat tomorrow?’—that is a man of little faith” (b.Sotah 48b).

The life of John the Immerser, who lived in the wilderness eating and wearing only what he found, illustrates Yeshua’s teaching about God providing food, drink, and clothing. John did not call his followers to take up his mode of life. He did not tell soldiers or tax collectors to forsake their careers, he instructed them to stay in their professions but to conduct themselves honestly, sharing their possessions with the less fortunate. Neither did the Master intend for all His disciples to forsake their worldly occupations and renounce all possessions. Remember that Yeshua Himself worked His father’s trade as a carpenter. The disciples returned to fishing even after the resurrection. According to church legend, Thomas labored as a stonemason and architect, and John took a job as a furnace-stoker in Ephesus. Paul the apostle supported himself as a tentmaker, and he instructed the believers in Thessalonica, saying, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). Paul tells Timothy, “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

Discipleship to Yeshua did not allow for an abdication of responsibility, but it did call for a renunciation of worry and anxiety.

This article originally appeared on First Fruits of Zion and is reposted with permission.