Summary: Do we really trust our God? How committed are we?

NR 08-08-04

Luke 12:22-34 – Do not worry

Story: Church at the turn of the century

At the turn of the 20th Century, the roof of the hall of a little Swiss church was falling down.

So the members of the church got together regularly after the service in the hall to pray for funds to repair the roof .

One of the people who used to come along to the prayer meeting was a miserly old man.

He would sit at the back of the hall - so he could sneak out just before the collection plate came round.

One Sunday, he was held up on his way to the prayer meeting by the vicar and when he got to the hall he could only find a seat at the front.

During the prayer meeting, a piece of the roof fell and hit him on the head.

Feeling spoke to by the Lord, he stood up and said "Lord, I’ll give £1000"

A voice at the back of the churchwas heard to say " Hit him again, Lord"!

Often God has to speak to me in a similar way. But he doesn’t use a piece of plaster.

He gets my attention by a verse or a powerful passage from Scripture

And for me one such hit comes from this evening’s Gospel reading

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on (Luke 12:22)

and its corrollary

If God so clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much will he clothe you, O you of little faith. And do not set your heart on what you will eat or what you will drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things and you Father knows that you need them. But seek first the Kingdom and these things will be given to you as well. (Luke 12:28-31)

Story: When I worry Maddy has a nice little saying: “Why pray when you can worry!!”

Story: On the last night that I was on holiday in Switzerland, I got a message that Chris our second son was rushed into hospital with colitis – and I realised that all I could do was to commit Chris to the Lord and go to sleep.

The Lord wants us to come to the position of trusting him.

If we want to understand more fully what Jesus is saying in our Gospel reading this evening - I think it is important to look at the context.

Our reading carries on from the Parable of the Rich Fool, (Luke 12:13-21).

I am sure you remember the parable, where the Rich Fool was castigated for his greed.

He built barns to keep his wealth to himself – rather than sharing his abundant excess with those in need.

Yet conventional wisdom would tell us to save up against a rainy day. So what is Jesus saying?

I think the key to understanding the Parable of the Rich Fool is the man’s excessive greed.

Those with a lot of money often find it very hard to be generous.

Story: Paul Getty, the famous oil baron, was so worried about his money, that it is reputed he installed pay phones in his house at Sutton Place just outside Guildford, Surrey - so that his guests would not waste his money on phone calls.

In Luke 12, Jesus then moves on from the greed of the Rich Fool to talk about worry, the subject of our Gospel passage this evening both are linked.

The love of money that brings with it worry.

And as an aside, I’d like to say that Money itself is neutral – it is the love of money that Jesus castigates.

But the love of money is not the only thing that causes us worry - ill health (or even the fear of ill heath) is another example.

But whatever the reason we worry - there is a root problem.

That problem, I believe, rests in a lack of trust of God.

This evening I would like to suggest that we should apply two challenges when we are tempted to worry.

1. The first challenge to the temptation to worry is this. On what is my faith based?

2. The second challenge to worry is what are my goals in life?

Let us start by looking at the first challenge to worry.

1. On what is my faith based?

Story: George Müller (1805-1898) was the founder of a children’s home in Bristol in the early 19th Century.

He was a man of a simple faith, which can be summed up as: God had called him to his work and so God would provide.

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