Read Luke 12:22-40
Trust, obey, love seem too simple sometimes. Trust God with all of your heart. Obey what he has told us to do which comes mostly in his word—commands and decrees and a guide for holy living given to us for our own good—but also at the prompting of his Holy Spirit that lives inside of us. Love him above anyone or anything else that we love. Most of this love for God is manifested in loving others.
Follow Jesus. He said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. He said, learn from him. Learn from him! The instructions are simple but not simplistic.
We have been on a course of delving into God’s word concerning love, love and action, and now we come to rest and peace.
Jesus said, learn from him. When we take his yoke, we as his disciples have committed to learning from him. Here is something that we are well served to learn.
Do not worry.
Do not worry about food or clothing or shelter or other provision. God provides.
For people, much of that provision comes in work. If you can labor, you labor. It you can make something of value, you make it. If you provide a service, then you serve, but most of us are provisioned to provide for our basic needs and the needs of our family.
If you think about the Parable of the Talents, trusted servants became managers and investors and produced a return that pleased their master.
Don’t worry doesn’t mean sit on the curb and wait for God to send you three squares a day and a limo to take you to the Embassy Suites each night. It means do what you know to do and don’t worry that you won’t have enough to meet your needs.
Let’s pause for a brief provocation that I will provide in the interrogative. Who needs more to meet their basic needs, the Christian or the person without God? I am not talking about the need for God but for all of those other things in life. Who needs more, Christian or non-Christian?
I will proffer that the Christian needs more. The Christian has more needs. He needs food and water, clothing and shelter, and general provision for his family. Well, so does the pagan.
But the Christian also needs something more through which he can bless others. Part of who we are as Christians is that we are people to be known by our love. We are now wired to bless others. We are not complete unless we love others. We must bless others to be complete.
The person who only knows the world, craves the things of the world even though the world can never satisfy their cravings. It is a vicious cycle that can never be satisfied. The person without God thinks that they need more but they truly only crave more. Meeting basic needs is not enough. They have selfish cravings to satisfy.
Meeting basic needs is never enough for the Christian either. We have unselfish needs to satisfy as well. God meets those needs!
Jesus used the birds of the air as an example. Where are their barns and storehouses? What have they done to provide for their tomorrow? Have you ever seen a bird with an IRA or 401K?
God provides for them.
Even the fields are adorned with flowers and grass. What splendor and these are just plants that are here for a short time.
How much more are you who are made in God’s image worth to God? Will he leave you naked and hungry? No!
We sing, “His eye is on the sparrow and I know he cares for me.”
We are told to seek God’s kingdom. Pursue the things of God. Paul would later write that whatever you do, do it as if you were working directly for the Lord and not for human masters. It is the Lord, Christ whom we serve!
Seek God’s kingdom and don’t worry about the things of this world. The godless spend their lives in pursuit of temporal things. You who are of God seek eternal things.
You are investors that produce good returns for God.
Here is the paradox. You who worship and serve the one true God and seek after his kingdom and his righteousness will be given so many things of this world that the godless have made into their gods.
You will not do without because Jesus is your Lord. You will do great things with what the Lord has provided.
It gets under my skin every time that I hear a Christian must be poor to be a real Christian or a preacher must be poor if he is following Jesus and living what he preaches.
But the Bible said that Jesus became poor. Yes, it does. He stepped out of heaven and lived a human life. There is a difference in the standard of living. The King of kings became a servant for our sake.
But there are no scriptures that note once he arrived, he was begging on the side of the road or had to line up each night for the homeless shelter. The disciples had a treasurer and bought food when they needed it. They were not on food stamps or sent to beg on a regular basis.
Jesus sent out his disciples telling them to take minimal provisions as they proclaimed the Kingdom of God was at hand. He told them they would be provisioned wherever they went. If they were rejected, move on.
In fact, Jesus had food that his own followers did not know about. It was to do the will of his Father who sent him. Other than 40 days when he fasted in preparation for a three-year trek to the cross, Jesus did not do without unless it was by his choice or in obedience to his Father, and those two are really one.
But Jesus said, foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Jesus had provision wherever he went. He didn’t seem to spend much time at home because the house he had on this earth was not his home. He would not truly rest until he was once again at his Father’s side. He was on a mission. He was not homeless or poor. He was on a mission!
He already knew what the Kingdom of God was like. That was home and Jesus said that his Father was pleased to give you this vey kingdom.
It’s not about what you own. It’s about what owns you. What to you have that owns you? Jesus said give it to the poor or sell it and give the money to the poor. Don’t spend too much making an eternal home in a temporary place.
Jesus is the King of kings; yet, he lived not to acquire that which was already his. He lived to do the will of his Father. By worldly standards, you might say he was poor because he did not store up treasures on earth. He came with purpose and was not weighed down by the things of this world, but when he need a boat, he had a boat. When he needed a place to stay, he had a place to stay. When he needed a young donkey to ride into town, there was one waiting for him. When he needed a meal, he was given a meal. Jesus was focused on doing his Father’s will and not on storing up treasures on earth.
Must we be poor? No, we must be purposeful. What we have is already God’s, but what will we do with it? Sometimes we give to him sacrificially. Most times we give out of our abundance.
Your home is in the Kingdom of God. Your treasure is in the Kingdom of God. Your future is in the Kingdom of God.
Seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness and God will provide more than enough for you while you journey through this life.
What is it to seek God’s kingdom? Trust him, obey him, and love him; and Jesus tells us to do it without worry.
DO NOT WORRY!
What is the return on investment for worry? Can you add an extra day or even an hour to your life? The answer to those questions is that worry provides nothing good. That should be the end of the discussion, right?
But I worry by nature. Worry is not part of the new creation that we have become. This is not the nature of the born again believer—of one born of the Spirit. OK. What can I do instead? If you can put forth effort to worry, you can put forth effort to pray. You can serve and be ready instead of worrying.
You can live a life of trusting God with all of your heart. You can obey his commands. You can love him by loving others. If you are focused on these things, you have neither the time nor the inclination to worry.
You will be ready for your Master’s return. Every day is a day of trust, obedience, and love and you will be ready for the return of Jesus Christ when he comes to claim you.
We know that our salvation is a gift. Our hearts long to do something in response to this gift. That’s our discipleship. Our response to the gift of life eternal is our discipleship, and we want our discipleship to be pleasing to God.
We don’t want to spend our lives worrying that we were not good enough for God. Thus, we need to understand two things.
First, we need to understand that we could never do anything to be good enough for God. That’s why Jesus offered his blood as a divine sacrifice. God himself provided the sacrifice for our sins.
Second, we must not spend one second in worry but invest all of our life in loving God. We trust him, obey him, and love him mostly by loving others. When we do that, we are pleasing to him. Our very lives are an offering to him. Because of the divine blood shed for our sins, our lives are now a pleasant aroma to him. We are truly a living sacrifice that is pleasing to God.
We become poor in our desire for the things of this temporary world and rich in our desire to live fully in his kingdom. In the pericope that precedes today’s scriptures, we find a parable that prompts the question: Are we rich towards God?
When we become poor in our desire for the things of this world, don’t expect to be signing up for welfare. Don’t expect that you will miss out on the good stuff in life. God will meet our needs according to his limited resources…
No! God meets our needs according to his glorious riches. God will bless us as his children that he loves very much, and we will take that with which he has blessed us and bless others. We will do it without worry. We will do it in pursuit of God’s kingdom which he has opened to us.
We will still contend with trouble in the world, but we take courage that Jesus has overcome the world. This world was not his home. It is not our home. It is the place where we learn to grow in God’s grace.
We are ready for Christ’s return because we live each day to the full as a day of trusting God with all of our heart, a day where obey his commands are not burdens, and a day full of loving God by loving each other. We are living our God-given purpose and that makes us ready for his return.
Sometimes our human nature—the old nature—chooses to complicate the simple. We must live as people of the Spirit, as people of the truth.
We are ready and we live without worry. None of us know the day nor the hour when Christ will return for us, but we should all know that in this day and this hour—in each day and each hour—we are ready and we are not worried. In fact, we know God’s peace.
We are not spending too much time making an eternal home in this temporary place. Our investment is in the Kingdom of God. We invest daily with trust, obedience, and love.
We live without worry. We are ready for Christ’s return. We are ready and without worry.
Do not worry!