Worry about having enough? I dare you…

by Kent on December 23, 2013

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 12:13 – 21, Jesus’ talking to us about worrying whether our needs will be met.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In an earlier post, titled the New Economy, based on the same verses in Matthew 6:24-33. I wrote about the new way of living that Jesus brought forth; it was a life not based on striving for one’s own needs, but on striving after the Kingdom and letting the Lord provide for us.

Many versions of the Bible title these verses under something like “Do not worry.” These kinds of titles are not usually in the original text, but are put there by publishers to help readers reference different places (by the way, the same could be said about chapter and verse numbers). The main differences between the verses in Matthew and Luke are that Luke includes verses 32 – 34, and Matthew does not. Good readers of the Bible should ask themselves why and what can it mean.

Jesus the son of God, tells us that he will provide for us lavishly if we will just seek the kingdom and righteousness. He tells us to have faith in Him (verse 28). Why is it that you and I worry about these things? We worry about having enough today, tomorrow, and in the future, especially old age (I wrote about retirement last week). We know we can’t just lie back and not work too (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

If we worry, it may come down to several reasons why:

  1. We live for today instead of for the kingdom and eternity;  Luke 12:23.
  2. We compare ourselves to other people instead of looking at all of creation,  thus we are not content with what God is providing; Luke 12:24, Luke 12:27 – 28. When we are not content, we often make really bad financial decisions.
  3. We think we are in control; Luke 12:25.
  4. We don’t believe God is generous, Luke 12:24 & Luke 12:27, so we strive after more above our needs instead of waiting patiently for God to provide, or we don’t think he will provide for us in the only way we think will make us happy.
  5. We have old pagan habits and divided hearts, Luke 12:29 – 30.
  6. Our treasure is not in heaven, but in other things, Luke 12:34.

3 dares to stop worrying. I promise you, if you do these three things, you will worry much less.

  1. Pray through these verses every day for a month, confess and repent where you need to, ask God for help.
  2. Seek His righteousness and kingdom in whatever you are doing, leave your agenda by the wayside, and pray for insight.
  3. Obey the commandment in Luke 12:33 to sell your possessions and give the money to the poor.

#3 sell your possessions and give to the poor:  The start of a new year is a great time to clean house. Start by making an inventory of your possessions. Review your list and sell everything that you have duplicates of (except for some clothing that you need spares for). Sell items you don’t use anymore. If it has been a least a year since you used an item, you probably don’t need it. Review items that you do use, but their use or maintenance takes time away from seeking righteousness, the kingdom and caring for your family. It is okay to hold onto some mementos or things in storage you may be holding for your children when they get their own places, but be careful not to hoard. Lastly, don’t buy more stuff unless you really need it.

*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the forty-second post in this series.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucas Dawn December 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I think a better translation (and title) than “worry” is “anxious.” This anxiety is contrasted with birds that neither sow nor reap, and with flowers that neither labor nor spin. In 12:29, the translation “do not set your heart on” fits well with an anxiety that wants more than it needs, and works hard for the “finer things” of life.

So I think the passage is especially about greed, and working hard to earn the “best” food, drink, or clothing. Thus Jesus says to sell “treasured possessions,” give to the poor, and have treasure in heaven. The most treasured possessions in American society are the “best” house, car, or jewelry one can afford (by working hard). Jesus calls for a generosity that leads to downward mobility: becoming closer to and among the poor.

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Kent December 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Lucas, I agree. Awesome comment. Thank you. Isn’t it amazing how we have less anxiousness when we live well below our means this way, and enjoy the ‘secret’ of contentment Paul talked about?

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