Luke 12:13–34 (ESV)
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” 22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, 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. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Let’s be candid with ourselves for a moment. Our lives are filled with busyness and worry, and we get anxious as we consider all the things that we have to do, take care of, and pay attention to as we walk through our days. Many of us even plan out our schedules for days, weeks and even months ahead all so that we can manage worry and anxiety as we seek meet the demands and what we perceive are the basic necessities of life. And if you have children you know how that sense of worry and anxiety is amplified.
Then we read these words from Jesus and it’s like a breath of fresh air. We can almost picture Jesus as He speaks these words to the people listening and as he shares the little parable. His words are strangely challenging and calming at the same time and we get this great sense of Jesus’ desire for the people listening, and for us, to truly know how much the Heavenly Father cares for us; the Creator and Maker of all things desires that you and I know His goodness, love, and grace, and to trust that He is present with us and holds each one of us in His care.
Again, there is the strong and gentle encouragement to center our lives on the Lord and let everything find its right place in relationship with Him.
Now just to be clear, Jesus isn’t saying that we should give up working and planning for the future or that we should adopt an ascetic lifestyle and relinquish all material possessions and enjoyments. That’s not what Jesus is saying at all. What Jesus is saying is that we shouldn’t be driven by these things, rather Jesus encourages us to be centered on Lord and so all of our pursuits and relationships are filled with joy because our hearts and minds are centered on Him.
I love what N.T. Wright once said regarding centering our lives on Christ first. He wrote, “Put the world first, and you’ll find it gets moth-eaten in your hands. Put God first, and you’ll get the world thrown in.”
God bless you and know that you are constantly in my prayers!