Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 11:14-13:9; SOAP / Luke 12:29-32
In today’s fuller passage of chapter 12, Jesus warns against greed, stressing that man’s life “does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, (15). Jesus then tells the parable of a rich fool. A story which He uses to teach that “life is more than material goods.” He emphasized that the greater importance is our relationship with God, (16-21). Then in our focus passage and surrounding verses (21-34), He warns against worry. He uses the specific example of worrying about what we will eat or wear, and has some great illustrations about how God provides for the birds and even clothes the flowers of the fields – so we can surely trust Him to care all the more for us, His children.
Then Jesus zeros in on the crux of the matter which is this: Our earthly treasures or possessions, those things that don’t last, don’t really matter to God. What matters to God and what He wants to matter most to us – is what we have invested and stored up for Him. Jesus said it this way, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but instead store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor destroy and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also .…” Of course we will be concerned about the things in our lives, like a car that needs to be repaired so we can get to work, or the rising cost of groceries but no increase in pay, or health issues and the myriad of other daily concerns – the issue isn’t that we shouldn’t be concerned but that we shouldn’t be consumed by the concerns. Rather, we should trust that God is taking care of our needs so that we can be about the work of His Kingdom.
So how do we do this? How do we forego greed and letting our possessions and desires control us? How do we not worry about the daily cares of this world? According to the Scriptures, we pursue, or seek first, His Kingdom. This means Jesus and His mission become the driving force in our lives – and we lay everything else at His feet – whether work, play, plans, needs, or relationships. We must die to self and submit every area to His authority. We cannot hold even one part of our life back from His control if we intend to make Him King of our lives. As for combatting the worry, to paraphrase one of my favorite and life changing teachings of Paul: Rejoice in the Lord, pray about everything, tell God what you need, thank Him for what He’s already done (this part is vital), and finally think about the things of God.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! 5 Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! 6 Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.
Philippians 4:4-8 NET
Response to God’s Word
Our Father, who art in Heaven – Holy is Your Name. Your kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us our daily needs and guard us from the temptations of this world – May we not become so enamored or caught up with the earthly desires and joys that we miss out on the heavenly treasures that are ours in Christ Jesus. Help us to submit to His authority, to make Him King of our lives, so that we might continue His work on earth with the hope of bringing You glory – both now and forever more == Amen, in Jesus’ name