Read: Luke 12:22-34
The narrative today begins with the words “then” and “therefore” as a reminder that it’s important to remember this is a continuing story related to the previous lesson on greed. The next section of this chapter continues the lesson, but it seems prudent to post in smaller bites as long as we keep the bigger picture in mind. I hope you agree.
Do not worry. Do not be afraid. Have faith.
End of lesson, yes? Not quite. As I read the words of Jesus, I realize I have those phrases out of order, in fact, backwards. It should be:
Have faith. Do not be afraid. Do not worry.
The emphasis is on faith. Jesus, the masterful teacher, provides tangible examples to draw us into the story to help us learn this truth. Consider the ravens, birds of the air; look at the wild flowers, here one day and gone the next. All concrete thoughts that transcend time. We can nod our heads in agreement with our brothers and sisters from 2,000+ years ago. The NLV picked up on the footnote in the NIV translation:
Which of you can make yourself a little taller by worrying? Luke 12:25
I can’t make myself taller by worrying, nor can I add a single hour to my life. This isn’t a license to do nothing. It’s a strong reminder to stop focusing on myself, to stop being so self-centered.
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:29-31
This morning, in particular, I found the phrase, “for the pagan world” was most interesting. Jesus, God incarnate, sees the world with eyes that are far different than our own. He created the birds and the fields, the wonders of the heavens and the depths of the oceans. All nature obeys His voice. (The song, So Will I is now playing in my head.) Then we consider humankind. There are those who choose to love the Lord and there are pagans who refuse. We have a choice to make. We can join the pagans and chase after the things of this world, to set our hearts on transient, earthly goals, or we can seek the kingdom of God first and have faith that God will provide.
I’ve experienced this blessing over and over again. From outrageous tax refunds to checks showing up from places I never expected. Somehow, for some strange reason, God continues to fill whatever needs I have for daily bread, clothing, and shelter.
While I’m reminded of these blessings, I’m also challenged to do something as a result.
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32
“Little flock.” Now I’ve been put in my place! Please hear this human, the Father has given you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, that which will not wear out, will not wither, will not die.
Do not worry.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34
Remember that verse. It’s easy: Luke 1-2-3-4. 🙂
Lord, increase my faith this morning, this day, this month, this year. Right now and from now on, I trust that you will provide. Teach me to give away all I can and have faith that you are there to take care of my simple earthly needs.