If Only… – Week of September 19, 2022

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33

If only. Do you ever have that thought? If only the one child would be calm for a few minutes. If only we had more children to enroll. If only our staff was full. If only the budget was balanced. If only her health were better. What’s on your list? The list is different for each one of us, but we all have a list. If only these were solved, we could be at peace. We wouldn’t have to worry.

Worry is a beast, isn’t it? Take a couple of minutes and read the verses just before today’s reading. Matthew 6:25-34 takes us to task on the topic of worry. The illustrations have always struck me. “Look at the birds of the air.” True. God provides for them each day as they flutter about. My sinful nature wants to challenge that illustration. They don’t have to pay bills. They don’t have relationship challenges. They don’t… you get the picture. And then I read on. “Are you not much more valuable than they?” My heart is convicted.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32

He, my heavenly Father, created and redeemed me and you. He designed each one of us for a purpose. His purpose for each one of us includes sharing his message of grace with others. If God created us and gave us life and redeemed us, won’t he also provide for what we need? It makes no sense that God would give us physical and spiritual life and then have no concern for us. His love for us is immeasurable and is demonstrated so clearly in sending Jesus as our Savior.

God also created us to praise him. We do so when we seek him and his kingdom and are in the Word learning and growing in faith. We do so in our lives of service to others, reflecting his love and grace. We do so in our example of gratitude for the blessings God has given each of us. We do so as we trust in him to provide for our needs.

Our biggest if only… that our sins were forgiven and that we would have peace with God our heavenly Father. That “if only” is complete. That peace that comes from sins forgiven was taken care of on the cross and on Easter morning. Might we still have a couple of “if only’s?” Sure! If only more knew about God. If only more had the peace that comes from faith in Jesus, the Savior.

My friends, take your worry to your Father in heaven. Go with gratitude for the gifts he has given you and with confidence knowing how dearly he loves you. Seek him as you continue to learn about him through the Word and leave “all these things” to his loving care.

Dear Father, it is so hard for me to avoid worry. Forgive me when I lack trust in you. When challenges come, remind me of your promise to be with me in all things. Remind me how dearly you love me and that the most valuable treasure of all is already mine—forgiveness and the promise of heaven with you. In your name I pray. Amen

The following hymns are a wonderful reminder to us that we can trust in God.

My Worth Is Not in What I Own
CW21 753 especially stanzas 1 and 5 and the refrain

Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me
CW93 439

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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