Summary: What I can reply when people ask the reason why I am a Christian.
“Why I Am A Christian”
Scripture Reading: Psalm 46
Gospel Reading Luke 12:.22 - 32
Last Wednesday I asked the kids in my class at the Korean Church this question: “Why are you a Christian, what good does it do you?”
The answer to that question is found in the bible. Gordon just read Psalm 46 to us, and it tells us that God is always with us. When you have time, you might want to read it again. Now lets examine today’s Gospel reading which is Jesus’ own words.
The King James Version of the bible has the first sentence of today’s gospel as: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, etc.” Many people have interpreted this to mean, “Don’t make plans for the future, don’t have a savings account, don’t bother looking for employment.” The problem comes from the fact that at the time the King James was published in 1611 the word thought was a perfect direct translation from the Greek word merimna. Thought also had a different meaning to the English of 1611 than it does to us today. Let me give you an illustration: Frances Bacon, during the reign of Henry VII said, “Hawis, an alderman of London, was put in trouble, and died with thought and anguish,” and Somers, writing in Tracts during the reign of Elizabeth 1st wrote, “Queen Catherine Parr died rather of thought.” Now to our 21st century ears those seem rather crazy. HOW can somebody die of THOUGHT?
You see, in those days thought was the equivalent of our great anxiety or worry, and that is the correct 21st century translation of that Greek word. In fact even the word worry that we find in the NIV is not strong enough. The word Jesus used means a consuming and distracting kind of worry, and some people have in fact spent so much time in that kind of worrying and being anxious that their health suffered and they died an early death. Have you heard the expression "She worried herself to death?"’
So what our Lord was telling the disciples was not, "Don’t make any plans for the future," but "Don’t be filled with anxiety about the future. There are other things more important.”
A fuller understanding of our Lord’s, words, comes from reading verses 15 through 21 which include the parable of the Rich Fool. That it is important that we look back is indicated by Jesus’ first word in verse 22. He said Therefore. That word means that something came before that leads into what is now about to be said
The parable tells of a man who put all his mind to storing up wealth for his future. When he had more than enough to fill his barns he could have given the excess to the poor, instead he tore down the barn and built a bigger one so he could keep it all to himself. The truth is he never saw beyond himself. There is no parable that is so full of the words I, me, My, and mine. William Barclay in his commentary on Luke tells of a certain school boy. "When he was asked what parts of speech are my and mine he answered ‘aggressive pronouns.’ The rich fool was aggressively self centered.” The parable’s ending sounds a warning. "But God said to him ’You fool, this very night you shall die, then who will get what you have-prepared for yourself?’”
We live in a world that hammers at us with the idea that our identity, our importance in the world depends on our possessions. Every place we look or listen there is some add or commercial telling us that if we want a better life we must have this or that product. The kids hear every day that if they want to be "with it" they have to wear just the right labels, the right styles, the right colors. We come to spend hours thinking of ways that we can afford this or that to make our lives better. We worry about our bodies, what do people think of our physical selves. In short we worry about our life, what we will eat, our bodies, what we will wear.
What Jesus is saying in our gospel reading for this morning is, Don’t give all your energy to worry and anxiety about unimportant things. In fact, He is telling us not to be filled with anxiety about anything.
Is the economy bad, are you out of work, is your savings getting low? Don’t lay awake at night worrying about it. God will take care of you. He might not do it in the fashion you have been accustomed to, but he will provide all that you truly need, just as he does for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Bad times do come. They always have and they always will; there will be terrorist attacks, wars, and bad economies, but God is true to his word. Listen-to what Paul says in Romans 8: 35 - 39: