David picks up from where we left off last time by introducing us to Jesus’ next set of instructions in Luke 12:22-34 as he teaches about money and possessions.
Jesus gives three direct commands to help his followers ensure their hearts are in the right place:
The first command: not to worry about everyday life, may appear somewhat unrealistic to many of us, since we all worry and get anxious sometimes.
What reasons does Jesus give for telling us not to worry about the essentials of everyday life?
Physical life matters but Jesus wants us to understand that there’s more to life than our physical wellbeing – people do not live on bread / food alone. More essential is eternal or abundant life that comes from God, which is certainly more than food.
We learn here that since God has provided for the disciples up to now, we can be sure that he will continue to look after us.
Shouldn’t the very fact that you are alive and have a body matter more than your appearance or what you wear? Jesus says that worrying about this kind of thing suggests that you don’t really know God, trust God or believe that he truly loves you.
‘Worry is practical atheism and an affront to God’ (Robert Mounce)
Not to worry indicates a right understanding of God. To illustrate this Jesus invites us to look at the ravens, who do not reap or sow or have barns.
Unlike the rich man in the previous passage, who had everything going for him, the ravens have nothing yet trust God to look out for them.
Jesus’ statement here suggests that if you find yourself worrying about life it calls into question your understanding of who God actually is, and how much he loves and cares for you.
We all know the answer to this question – worrying messes with our hearts and heads, and rarely results in anything good (Cf. Philippians 4:6).
‘Worry, like a rocking chair, will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere’ (Vance Havner)
In verses 27-28 Jesus refers to the beauty of wild flowers as a further reason not to worry but to trust God to provide for your everyday life.
Ouch! The sting of Jesus’ final comment challenges me to check my trust levels in God whenever I get worried over something in everyday life.
‘the beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety’ (George Muller)
This second command of Jesus reframes the overall question, ‘Where’s your heart?’ and David reminded us that if it’s caught up or distracted with worry, we’re not doing ourselves any favours.
The third command speaks about the times in our lives when we are consumed by worry, anxiety or fear, yet the Bible repeatedly reminds us that we need not be afraid.
Three things we are commanded NOT to do to ensure our hearts are in the right place:
- set your heart in the wrong place
- be afraid
Two things we MUST prioritise:
- SEEK GOD’S KINGDOM ABOVE ALL ELSE (v.31 NLT)
- SELL YOUR POSSESSIONS AND GIVE TO THE NEEDY (v.33)
How we live this out is between ourselves and God, not forgetting the importance of open-handed generosity and a willingness to share.
Jesus commands us to be kingdom seekers and treasure keepers, ‘for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’