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Nested Needs

Nested Needs (Matthew 6:24-34)

Anyone else telling this message would mention those little Russian Metryoshka dolls that nest one inside the other from tiniest to largest. They’re called Kokeshi in Japan. But I’m Italian so I think of the mixing bowls my grandmothers and mother used to knead dough for everything from cookies to pasta to bread. Little bowls in side larger bowls inside still larger bowls needed for kneading. Each with less or more of an ingredient or product of combining them in a mass.

That’s what JESUS is doing on a mountain teaching people who want to learn about Him. At first his message seems disconnected. But when you examine each of them it becomes clear He is talking about nested needs. There are some things you need to be or know or do before you can join the ingredients into the whole of Life and eternity with GOD. There is a recipe for righteousness.

In our selection for today, JESUS talks about not trying to serve two masters, GOD and things. The word “Mammon” (things) is usually translated as “money” but it’s more than that. It’s more properly understood as the old-fashioned word “goods”, like in “sporting goods”, things you acquire, getting. And the way JESUS uses it the word is used as an opposite to GOD. You can’t worship the true GOD Who is all about giving while you’re worshipping the false god of getting, Give Me.

Loving the true GOD, Who gives, makes us resemble Him by giving what He gives from love to anything we have. We hate the idea of grabbing to get and trying to build kingdoms in this life.

But worshipping the false god of goods, Give Me, focuses on what we want but don’t have. We hate GOD for not giving what we want when we want it.

With GOD we praise GOD and pray to use what He gives to use it to bless others. Worshipping Give Me replaces prayer with worry. Instead of resting in what we’re given and giving in return we worry what will happen if we give and don’t have for ourselves. What if we lose our job, our health, our youth…

One thing nests in another. One need inside the other. But JESUS explains the biggest bowl all the rest nest in is seeking GOD and His righteousness. When we do we return to the beginning of His talk when He first sat on the mountain and began to speak. To be blessed and whole as we’re intended to be we must be changed from the inside out.

Seeking GOD and His righteousness is admitting we can never live rightly on our own. Instead of getting we must give ourselves over to Him. It is only through GOD the Son, JESUS, that we have His Righteousness. We can’t get it but He gives it to us at the Cross when we give all of ourselves to Him.

Then, nested in Him, His Holy Spirit changes us from the inside out and all the nested bowls of our heart and life are flooded by Him. We stop seeking to get and seek only what He has given. And we overflow from our heart to the larger bowls of the hearts of others to the world with the Love He gives and we share.

There is a window I look out of every evening while waiting for my bus. I loved to see the thick bushes where birds darted in and out to their nests nestled in the branches. On Friday workers tore down those bushes to do landscaping. As I looked put over the dirt patches where bird homes had once been one lone bird came and sat on a post beside where its home had been. I exclaimed “Oh no!” And expected the bird to cry put in mourning. Instead, my own mourning unobserved, the bird made one great chirp and flew away unaffected. It knew, I think, better than I, that the same GOD Who housed and fed it before had a new home to give in His provision and love.

“”No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:24-34‬ ‭ESV‬‬