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“And He said unto His disciples, Therefore, I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knowedi that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give .you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in die heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”—Luke 12:22-34.
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After relating the sad story of the rich fool, who, despite his carefulness and self-interest, lost everything, Jesus turned to His disciples and talked to them of the blessedness of a life free from care and anxiety, a life of dependence on the living God, who is the Father of all who believe His Word.
He said, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.” He was not advocating thriftlessness, nor was He inculcating idleness, nor unconcern as to one’s future responsibilities. The admonition was that His disciples should avoid anxious thought. It is not becoming for a child of God to worry about food and clothing, and how to meet the various needs that arise from day to day. We have seen the motto: “If you worry, you do not trust; if you trust, you do not worry.” It was just this that the Lord sought to impress upon His disciples. Faith can count upon God to meet each need as it arises, provided one is walking in obedience to the Word.
Jesus directed attention to the ravens, which were generally in evidence in Palestine. Unable to either sow or reap they were provided for by their benevolent Creator. It is unthinkable that He should have more concern for the fowls of the air than for His own children.
Besides, what is accomplished by worrying? Can one by anxious thought add to his stature? We grow in height from childhood to maturity as ordered of God. Why not trust Him for the rest?
The lilies of the field, more delicately beautiful than any artistic work of man, are clothed in their lovely garb by God. They neither toil nor spin, yet their’s is a radiant beauty such as even Solomon in all his glory never knew. Every flower, every blade of grass, is a witness of the wisdom and power of the Creator, who is our God and Father. We may be sure that He who displays His providential care over all the lower creation, will not fail to undertake for His own as they commit all their affairs to Him.
To make the obtaining of food and drink the great object of our labor is to miss altogether the true goal of life. The nations of the world who know not God may have no higher standards than these; but it should be otherwise with those to whom He has revealed Himself in grace and compassion.
Put first things first. Seek not that which ministers to selfish desire, but rather seek the kingdom of God, which implies the recognition of the divine authority over all our lives, and all else will be added as God sees fit.
Industriousness and faith go hand in hand. It does not signify, however, that one has real faith in God because he gives up temporal employment and declares he is going to trust the Lord to meet his needs. If so busily engaged in the ministry of the Word that one cannot also labor with his hands, even as Paul sometimes did, he is entitled to look to God in confidence that He will meet every need. But ordinarily it is in full accord with the path of faith to remember that God has said, “If any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). And we need to recall the primeval admonition, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Gen. 3:19). No one is more able to impress people with the reality and sterling character of a true Christian experience than the laboring man, or the business executive, who, while working to support himself and his family, lives a life of daily dependence on God, looking to Him to provide the employment whereby his temporal responsibilities are met.
There is a difference between faith and presumption. Faith acts on the revealed Word of God. Presumption attempts to harness God to a human program, and the result is inevitable failure. God has promised to answer the prayer of faith; He has never promised to gratify the desires of men who do not act according to His Word.
During the present age the people of God, who know their loving Father’s care, are a little flock indeed, exposed to the misunderstanding and even the hatred of a cruel and unfeeling world. But to them the promise is given: “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Therefore, one, conscious of his relationship to God and the fact that he is an heir of the kingdom, can well afford to hold everything here with a light hand, knowing that eternal riches have been laid up for him in glory, and while passing as a stranger and pilgrim through a hostile scene, he can count on both divine protection and divine provision.
Instead of hoarding earthly treasure, the follower of the Lord Jesus will find his greatest joy in sharing with others the temporal benefits bestowed upon him. No man can really put this world beneath his feet until he has seen a better world above his head. Knowing he is an heir of the kingdom, knowing he is to share that treasure that f ail-eth not, a treasure which thieves cannot filch nor moths destroy, why should he set his heart upon the poor tawdry things of this world, which, as we read elsewhere, are all to perish with the using.
It is simply a question of where the heart is. If we covet worldly pelf and the fading glory of this earth, it is because our hearts are still in the world. But if we have learned to value the eternal riches and the glories that shall never pass away, it is because our hearts are fixed on that Home from which the Saviour came and to which He has returned. So, in Col. 3, we are enjoined to set our affection (or mind) on things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Nothing will ever divorce us from occupation with the passing things of time except the consciousness that our citizenship is in heaven and our portion is there.
This will not lead us to be indifferent to our obligations as temporary residents of this world, nor will it have a tendency to make us indolent or careless as to proper provision for daily life. But it will deliver us from worry and anxiety, and it will give us the quiet confidence which enables us to rest in the Lord as we endeavor to glorify Him in all the responsibilities He puts upon us.