Today, we continue our series Keeping Up With the Jones and I am eager to share with you how God has used today’s passage in my family’s life.
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 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! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:22-34)
And this is one of the most encouraging sermons I’ll preach all year.
1. The Truth about Worry
Jesus tell us to stop worrying: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.” (Luke 12:22)
Whether you have a lot of it or very little it of, the fact is most of us worry about money. Maybe you are worried about your retirement, the value of your home, or where your next meal is coming from.
#1 Study on Stock Market
Last year, Joseph Engelberg and Christopher A. Parsons published a study that looked at worrying about the stock market specifically. They wondered what impact a drop in the market had on investor psychology, and they found something interesting in hospital admission records. After looking at nearly three decades of data, Mr. Engelberg and Mr. Parsons, both associate professors of finance at the University of California, San Diego, found that a sharp decline in the stock market was followed by a higher rate of hospitalizations over the next two days. Mental conditions, like anxiety, were particularly prevalent in these situations.
Jesus doesn’t point to a study, instead, He intuitively comments on the universal human condition: “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26)
Jesus tells us here that worry doesn’t work. Many of us are addicted to worry. You see, worry projects the worst about the future. Worry exaggerates the problem.
#2 Low-Income Study
There’s no question that dealing with mortgages, car payments, and other bills takes up time and energy. But scientists also report having a tight budget may also zap our ability to think clearly. In a series of clever experiments involving farmers in India and shoppers in New Jersey, scientists found that people are worse at solving puzzles — similar to those on the IQ test — when they’re first reminded of money problems. “Financial constraints capture a lot of your attention,” says Eldar Shafir, a psychologist at Princeton University, who helped lead the study. “Then there’s less bandwidth left to solve problems. Your cognitive ability starts to slow down, just like a computer.” In the study, scientists approached people at a shopping mall in Lawrenceville, N.J., and asked them how much money they earn. Before the participants started the puzzles, they answered a question about money: “A person's car breaks down, and they need X dollars to fix it. Tell me what are the options they have available?” People with lower incomes did just as well on the tests as those with higher salaries when the amount of money required to fix the car was low, like $100. But when the scientists raised the amount to $1,500, the less affluent participants performed worse on the puzzles. “The money question tickles that part of the brain that has to do with your own finances,” says an economist at Harvard University who also led the study. “Then you start thinking, ‘Gee, how I am going to pay rent this month?’”
Again, Jesus knows this about us: “And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.” (Luke 12:29-30)
Plainly, most of us worry about money. If we don’t have enough, we worry about getting more and if have money, we worry about keeping what we have. But the worry for a believer is a signal of a deeper issue.
Take your financial temperature for a moment… We worry about money because money often makes us feel secure. We worry about money because money often makes us feel valuable. Plants and animals don’t worry as Jesus is about to teach us. The only thing that worries in all God’s creation is people.
The old English word for worry is the word “to strangle” or “to choke.” And that’s exactly what worry does – it strangles the life out of you. Worry is always an attempt to control the uncontrollable. Worry is assuming responsibility God never meant for you to have. Worry is a warning light. Whenever you start to worry the light should go off: Warning!— you’re trying to control too much.
1. The Truth about Worry
2. Your Father Says, “I Got Your Back”
For the millions of people around the world that have memorized the Lord’s Prayer, the words “Give us this day our daily bread” have a familiar ring. The well-known words of Jesus’ prayer have an anchor in Jesus’ teaching here in Luke 12. It’s the second time in this chapter that Jesus tells us what life’s about: “…for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15b) And again in verse twenty-three: “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:23) Jesus contrasts what you’re not able to do with what He’s easily able to do. You can’t add to your life through worry but He’s able to supernaturally clothe you, feed you, and care for you. Again, Jesus contrasts what you’re not able to do with what He’s easily able to do. It’s one thing for me to tell you to not worry; it’s another altogether for me to tell you, “I got you. I’ve Got Your Back”
3. Take Some Risks
There is remarkable logic in Jesus’ words. Jesus tells His followers not to worry and then He tells them to take some risks. Watch His logic carefully.
How Do I Know I Can Trust God? Have you approached your landlord or your husband and said, “The light above the entry still isn’t working?” Only for your landlord or your husband to reply, “When I tell you I’ll take care of it, you don’t need to remind me every six months about it.” But watch Jesus’ logic in contrast: You can trust Him for at least two reasons.
3.1 See How He Cares for Lilies, Ravens, and Grass
And it isn’t so much that He simply takes care of them, God goes far beyond simply taking care of lilies. The lilies of the field are dressed in clothing that makes wealthy King Solomon look like he’s picking his clothes out of a dumpster in an alley. If God cares for the lowest of scavengers, don’t you think He’ll meet your needs? So don’t worry, He has you. You can trust Him.
3.2 Your Father Has Included You in His Will
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) When you become a Christian, when you believe in Jesus, you are legally adopted, and you get the kingdom. We’re told that there is a wealth coming to us… … a glory coming to us on the last day, that when it come, is going to be so blindingly great, it’s going to be so incredible in its wealth … God is the kind of God who loves His children and takes care of His children. How you handle your money shows your heart. What prevents you from really being generous? It’s anxiety and worry about your future. Your Father say, “I’ve Got Your Back.” And because He has your back, you are to take risks…
The two things you have to do are actually rather simple, and yet they’re very hard. Start Putting your Money into the Poor. “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.” (Luke 12:33a) Start Putting your Money into the Kingdom. “…seek his kingdom” (Luke 12:31a) You can risk like this if you’re a believer, because your Heavenly Father has you.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) God doesn’t meet all of your greed but all of your need. In order to give like you want to, you have to really believe God will take care of you. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1) Everyone say it together: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)
Pray something like this with me: “Jesus Christ, I don’t understand it all, but I’ve seen that You’ve promised to take care of my needs if only I’ll trust You. And I realize that worry is just a warning light that I’m trying to control everything. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want you to be in control of my life. I want You to be my manager. I want You to be my Lord.
I turn from my sin of trying to control my life. I want to know You. I want to listen to You. I want You to lead me in the life plan that You made me for. I trust in your Son Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins. Amen”