Grace For The Journey
We are in Luke’s Gospel this morning, chapter 12. Friday we studied verses 13-21, where Jesus warns about the danger of covetousness, an unhealthy desire for things that do not belong to us. Jesus taught the parable of the rich fool, the guy who was living large in a temporary world. He died poor because he had laid up treasure for himself, but was not rich toward God. We review this because the next thing Jesus says in verse 22 is, “Then He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore …’” I have said numerous times that when you see a “Therefore” you should ask what is the “therefore” there-for? And of course, it directs us back to what Jesus has just been talking about. He has been talking about the problem of covetousness. One of the ways you can identify the main thrust of a passage is to note how frequently a word or topic recurs. You see the word “worry” in the first verse of our text, verse 22, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry.” You see “worry” again in verse 25, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” You see the word “anxious” in verse 26, “Why are you anxious?” You see the word “anxious” again in verse 29, “Do not seek what you should eat or drink, nor have an anxious mind.” You see the word “fear” in verse 323, “Do not fear little flock.” Worry, anxiety, and fear. Jesus wants to help us this morning “deal with how we feel” when we feel worried, anxious, and fearful.
George Muller once said, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” I like that statement because there is a connection between worry and faith.
Just as the root cause of covetousness
Is lack of trust in God, so the root cause
Of fear and worry is a lack of trust in God.
The psalmist said in Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid I will trust in You.” It is not a
Here is the first action required of us this morning if we’re going to conquer our worries . . .
I. Look To God And You Will Know His Provision – Verses 22-28.
Provision means that God provides. He cares for us. He loves us and He sees to it that we have everything we need. The Bible says in Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” He provides. We sometimes use the word “providence” to refer to God’s love and care for His creatures. God loves and cares for us so He will provide for us.
Look at what verse 22 says, “Then He said to His disciples.” Note that! Jesus is not speaking to everyone here. He is speaking to His disciples, His followers. Jesus says to His disciples, “Don’t Worry.” If you are not His disciple, you have got plenty to worry about.
- If you are not His disciple, you have got judgment to worry about, your un-forgiven sins to worry about, and hell to worry about.
- If you are not His disciple, you have ever reason in the world to be worried, anxious, and fearful. Jesus is speaking here to His disciples.
Verses 22 and 23 say, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” We encountered this truth last time. Jesus said back in verse 15, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.
True life is not about our possessions.
True life is not found in laying up
Treasure for ourselves, but about
Our being rich toward God.
God created you. God created your body so you can be sure He is going to provide food for your body and clothing for your body. God loves you, He cares for you, He provides for you. Look to God and you will know His provision.
Look at how God provides for lesser creatures in verse 24, “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” Have you ever seen a raven, a little black bird, have you ever seen one walking out in the fields in overalls? Got a bag of seed over its shoulder? Casting seed here and there? Ever see a raven riding a John Deere tractor, reaping its harvest, or storing up all its grain in a big, red barn? Ever see one wiping sweat from its brow in the hot sun as it farms the land? Of course not. Jesus says they “neither sow nor reap” and “have neither storehouse nor barn and God feeds them.” Here is the point: If God takes care of lesser creatures, of how much more value are you than the birds? Answer: a lot! Next time you fill out a job application and you come to that part that asks you about your qualifications, write down: “I am of much more value than a bird!”
Look to God and you will know His provision. If God cares and provides for little birds, how much more will He care and provide for you, Christian, you who are made in God’s image and have been redeemed from your sin through faith in His Son Jesus Christ?
Verse 25 says, “And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” The word “cubit” here is a standard unit, a measure of time. This phrase is a metaphor for not just adding height to your frame but adding to the length of one’s life. A better translation would be, “Which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life span?” In other words, “Why worry? It accomplishes nothing.” Worry is ineffectual. Worry cannot change anything. That’s the point. Worry is ineffectual.
So, Jesus says in verse 26, “If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?” In other words, if worrying accomplishes nothing, what are you doing worrying?! You cannot change your situation by worrying, so do not worry! You cannot add a day to your lifespan, you cannot add an inch to your height, you cannot change the size of your shoe, so what are doing wasting your life by worrying? Truth is most of the things you worry about never happen.
Mark Twain once said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Do not waste your life worrying. Look to God and you will know His provision. The words to an old hymn sums it up best . . .
Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath his wings of love abide,
God will take care of you;
God will take care of you;
Through ev’ry day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.
Jesus says in verse 27 says, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” King Solomon was clothed in splendid, regal, kingly robes. Yet Jesus says that the grass of the field, lilies for example, are by comparison more splendidly attired. Especially, given that these flowers do not spin their own clothes, God makes their clothing. The same God who provides for the grass of the field provides for you.
Jesus concludes by saying in verse 28, “If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven (to be burned as fuel), how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? Do not be of “little faith.” Look to God and you will know His provision. He loves you, He cares for you. He will supply all of your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Truth is most of us do not worry about food and clothing. We know hardly anything about the world of the man who lives in the impoverished country, walking 20 miles each day to get water for his family. Our lives are far removed from less fortunate folks living in dark corners of the world where 3 meals a day is a luxury, where healthcare is nonexistent, where an automobile is unheard of, and where a retail store is like something out of Fantasy Land at Disneyworld.
They are not worried whether their iPad is going to ship before their trip to Florida. They are not worried whether their kitchen tile is laid properly. They are not worried whether the lawn guy got all the weeds out of the flower bed, whether the value of their stock will rise, or whether their rings are sized correctly or whether the part in their hair is just right.
I am not after guilt here. I am after perspective. Look to God and you will know His provision.
Secondly . . .
II. Live For God And You Will Know His Peace – Verses 29-34.
Jesus continues in verses 29 to 30 to say,“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.” Here is a call for unflinching trust in God. Believe God. Live for God. Jesus says when you and I live all worried about this or that or have “an anxious mind,” we are living like unbelievers. That is the meaning of verse 30, “For all these things the nations of the world seek after.” That is a general way of referring to those who are not believers. Matthew says, in chapter 6, verse 32, “For after all these things the Gentiles seek.” The Gentiles are the unbelievers, the nations of the world, the people who are not followers of the One True God. Jesus says when you worry you live like an unbeliever.
The root cause of anxiety is lack of trust in God. You will not worry if you trust God. The cure for anxiety is faith in God. That is what the old hymn says,
Have faith in God though all else fall about you;
Have faith in God, He provides for His own:
He cannot fail though all kingdoms shall perish.
He rules. He reigns upon His throne.
The cure for anxiety is faith in God. Live for God and you will know His peace.
Verse 31 captures this truth in brevity with clarity, “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” To “seek the kingdom of God” is to live under God’s rule; to live for God. Live for God and you will know His peace. Pursue the things that are spiritual rather than material and you will have peace. Living for God means you trust Him. Living for God means you believe He is sovereign and that He always does what is best. Talk about the cure for worry, anxiety, and fear! To seek the kingdom of God means to live for God, to trust Him, and to believe He is always doing what is best. Seek the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added to you because Romans 8:28 tells us, “all things work together for good to those who love Him.”
God sees every tear that streaks down your cheek. He hears every cry. He knows everything about your situation. He hears and understands every word the doctor tells you. He feels every pain. He knows every trial. He sees every injustice … and He is working out all things together for your good. You will believe that when you seek the kingdom of God. The psalmist said in Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid I will trust in You.”
Verse 32 says, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Live for God and you will know His peace.
God’s greatest gifts to you
Are not material, but spiritual.
- You want stuff, He wants to give you salvation.
- You want possessions, He wants to give you purpose.
- You want material things, He wants to give you meaningful things.
- You want luxury, He wants to give you life.
It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. If you want to cure your anxiety, do not live for this world, live for the kingdom. Remember, the Bible says in Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven.”
When you live with a heavenly perspective, you will find verse 33 to be a natural result, “Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.” Live for God and seek His kingdom and you will hold your possessions more loosely. You will be more likely to give because you know this is why God has given to you. If you hoard up stuff, thieves will steal it and moths destroy it. But if you give, unlike the rich fool who laid up treasure for himself, you will be rich toward God.
Pretty radical, isn’t it? In essence, Jesus says, “Give your stuff away and then you won’t worry about your stuff.” Want to cure your tendency to covet? Give it away. Can you part with your stuff? Honestly? How can you tell? Verse 34 tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If God takes your stuff away and your heart goes with it, then it will be clear you were living for this world. Thank God that He took away your stuff. But if God takes your stuff away and your heart is not with your stuff, it will not matter because your heart is with God. You live for God and you know His peace.
I remember hearing years ago a man tell of his first car. He was so proud of it, but then someone hit his car and totaled it. His reaction? He said something like, “God, it was never my car to begin with. It is Your car that You gave for me to drive for awhile. If You want to wreck Your car, that’s Your business. It’s okay with me.”
Look to God and know His provision. Live for God and know His peace.
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”