Prepare to Listen. Be still and ask: Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
Prayerfully Read Luke 12:22-34
22He 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. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider 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! 25And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27Consider 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. 28But 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! 29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Anxiety is something with which we’re all familiar. But most of us aren’t anxious about food and clothing. We have enough, even more than we need. But this wasn’t the case for the people of Jesus’ day. Under Roman rule, most of them lived below the poverty line, and struggled to buy food and clothing. It was to people in poverty that Jesus said, Don’t worry. And he spoke from his own situation of poverty. He too was poor, never sure where his next meal would come from. He lived a complete trust in God and therefore could demand of us, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.” Instead, give generously and thus build for yourself treasure in heaven.
I live among a minority in the world today. I’m not anxious about food and clothing. Does this mean I should sell all my possessions, and give alms? A few saints have done this, but I’m not sure it’s what we’re all supposed to do. After all, Jesus encouraged us to make purses that don’t wear out. He knows we need to make money in order to live. Instead, he calls us to refocus our priorities, away from greed and anxiety about gathering enough to last to the end of our days, to God’s kingdom. Giving generously (alms) trains us to get our priorities right as it also builds for us treasure in heaven. “Where your treasure is,” said Jesus, “there your heart will be also.”
Where is your treasure? How do you know?
Respond to Jesus
Jesus, your call to not worry, is difficult. I seem to have a default mode of worry. Help me trust you fully to the end, and willingly give generously to others who need help. Amen.
Live obediently. Give generously and build treasure in heaven.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.