Luke 12:22-31

He 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. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!

And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:22-31

I usually spend time on the first Thursday morning of every month with a wonderful group of interesting, smart, and faithful women. We use that time to catch up with each other, I try to teach something interesting, and then everyone has lunch. The hostess of the day always brings a sandwich for me. I always look forward to these mornings. But sometimes I struggle with what would be helpful to teach. So I often reach out for help.

Often that means asking one of the participants ahead of time what would be interesting or helpful to them. This week the suggestion that came my way was to go around the room, asking each person to describe the most frightening experience of their lives, reflecting on how the church helped them to feel better in the midst of it. Anticipating today, I’ve been thinking about that question. Since we are having air conditioning issues at church, our meeting has been postponed until next week. So, when I read the Bible verses assigned for today, I’m thinking about that question now.

I’m wondering both “What IS fear?” and “Where do we get the idea – that most of us share – that the purpose of the church, or even of the Christian faith, is to help us feel better, more comfortable, less fearful?”

What lies beneath and beyond the rush of body chemicals that create the sensations we experience as fear? Isn’t it always tied to some type of loss, some type of pain, eventually drilling down to the ultimate loss of death?

Didn’t Jesus repeatedly tell his disciples “Fear not!” and “Peace be with you” and “I will never leave you” and “I will be with you always”? Isn’t the heart of the matter the good news that Jesus cares not only for the daily challenges of our lives, that human suffering be alleviated and hungry people be fed, and in that birthed a movement dedicated to helping, to comforting, to reassuring people? And this all the way to the cross and the resurrection and the promise of eternal life – all of which recognize the real pain and loss of death but ultimately swallow that up with the promise of something more and beyond?

Yesterday I spent some time with a person who is struggling with what other people might explain away as irrational fears. But, to her, they are very real fears. We talked. We prayed together. And before I left I wrote a note to leave behind for her to read. It was a reminder that God would protect her through her fears, that God was stronger than her fears.

I’m thinking that is behind today’s Bible verses. Not only Jesus’ comforting words which alleviate our worries, but also the invitation to hear those words in the company of others.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, worry, like guilt, often feels like an overwhelming emotion. The world and our own lives constantly stir the pot of worry and guilt. Especially today when information comes to us from so many sources, we can lose ourselves in the worries of the world. Fear has become a weapon of manipulation. So this morning, if even for just a moment, thank you for the vision of ravens and flowers and the reassurance that you know what we need and that you will walk with us. May we seek you first, in all things, that worry and fear might be swallowed up in your love and promises. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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5 Responses to “Luke 12:22-31”

  1. Marlys Says:

    Thank you! I am so grateful when I see Daily Devotions in my inbox! Your words are so enriching and great spiritual nourishment for my day.
    Blessings for your day!

  2. Linda W Says:

    I second what Marlys said. Thank you, PK!

  3. Penny Says:

    I am so blessed by what you write. Thank God for inspiring these words.

  4. Kirk Says:

    A men

  5. Carolee Says:

    This is one of my most favored scriptures; maybe because I can be a worry-wart, a brooder who can fall into a blue funk if life becomes stressful. I love these verses that can set my heart at rest and bring me peace.
    ““Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?
    Consider the lilies how they grow, they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”

    Thank you for sharing with us what Jesus is teaching his disciples through these metaphors, and showing us how this passage can teach and encourage us today.

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