No Easy Answers: Reflections on Matthew 6:24-34
The teachings of the Book of Proverbs are so measured and reasonable in their recommendations of moderation and hard work and the assurance that God will direct us, giving us wisdom to lead satisfying lives that give us a good reputation in the community. But Jesus' wisdom is the opposite of moderate and measured. It is immoderate, risky, and extreme in its statements about how to live. It is absolute in its confidence in the God for whom we live. That God is, as New Testament scholar Stephen Patterson has put it, "a God who demands all and a God who gives all. "
I resist this passage; I still want to make a case for being able to serve two masters, for the need for anxiety, for the integrity of security as the project of my life. But this young teacher's impossible questions make it impossible for me to go forward without doubting where I've been. That's what makes them so very annoying.
Alyce M. McKenzie, Preaching Proverbs: Wisdom for the Pulpit (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996)
Alyce M. McKenzie, Hear and Be Wise: Becoming a Preacher and Teacher of Wisdom (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004) [See especially Chapter Eight: "The Fourth Pillar of Wisdom: The Subversive Voice."]
Stephen J. Patterson, The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning (Trinity Press International, 1998)
Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.