And He said to His disciples, “Do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?”
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”Luke 12:22-31
- For this reason I say to you . . . For what reason?
- What is in Jesus’ mind when He said this?
- What does it connect to?
Whenever you come across a “for this reason . . . ” or a “therefore . . . ” you have to check out what it’s there for. So let’s look back at what has gone by since Jesus made the last statements related to “birds” and “don’t worry”.
The Order of Pericope
- Jesus casts a demon out of a man
- The Pharisees accuse Him of getting His power from satan
- The Pharisees and the crowd ask for a sign
- No sign but Jonah and Queen of Sheba
- Jesus says the Pharisees and teachers of the Law are filled with darkness
- They invite him to lunch and accuse Him of not doing the ritual cleansing
- He calls them hypocrites and says they are responsible for the blood of all the prophets
- They get mad at Him (and the disciples)
- Don’t fear those how can kill the body; fear the One who can throw you into hell
- More precious than sparrow
- Don’t deny Him
- Blaspheming the Holy Spirit
- When you are brought before the court and the authorities
- Interruption by the brother wanting his share
- Parable of the rich fool
- For this reason I say to you “don’t worry about your life”
- More important than birds, lilies
- Don’t worry about clothes, food, provision of your needs
- Seek His kingdom first and all your needs will be taken care of.
Can you see how all this goes together? And why Jesus would say, “For this reason, I tell you not to worry?” After the man’s interruption relating to money, Jesus returns to what He was talking about before the man interrupted. The interruption doesn’t phase Jesus at all. In fact, not only does He pick up again on what He was talking about before, He skilfully weaves the interruption into what He has to say now. Did you see that?
The opposition is growing from the Pharisees and experts in the Law. In short, Jesus has been saying not to fear these leaders of Israel who can kill you, but can’t destroy your soul / spirit. Fear God. You will be brought before the courts but don’t worry. You are more precious than sparrows. God will take care of you. He has every single hair on your head numbered. He knows what you need. Don’t turn your back on Him. Don’t reject Him; He won’t reject you. This was Jesus thread of teaching before the interruption.
After the interruption, Jesus goes back to repeat again what He was saying before. I told you not to worry about your life. You are more important than the birds and the lilies. Don’t worry about what to wear, don’t think about what you will eat or drink. Don’t worry about the future. God has it all under control. He will take care of everything. You just concentrate on putting His kingdom first. Did you notice how Jesus has woven all of these things together?
- What He was talking about before
- The concerns expressed in the man’s interruption
- As well as the content of Jesus’ answer to the man.
When you link up the elements I have highlighted in blue immediately above and in the Scripture quote at the top, you begin to see how skilfully Jesus has answered the man, and then returned to the concern of the disciples and wrapped it all up in one package.
Notice how He focuses on the fact that the man with concerns about his inheritance and the rich fool neglected the spiritual things. Life is more than eating and drinking. More than bodily comforts. The birds don’t build barns like the rich fool wanted to do. Yet they are taken care of. And don’t forget what I (Jesus) was telling you before: you are more important than the birds. Don’t focus on your bodily needs, focus on the things of God, (rich toward God) and all the other things will fall into place.
This is not a random collection of sayings. It is a skilfully woven unit, which is reiterating what Jesus has already said, but skilfully picking up on the points He was making for the brother who wanted his share now. This all goes together. Jesus is not phased in the least by the man’s interruption. Instead He uses it masterfully for His purpose. I don’t think Luke is the master behind this unity. I think it is Jesus who was the crafter of this masterful argument.
I will pray over night to see if I should pull this apart even more or if what I have highlighted already is enough to allow us to pass on to the next part to which we need to give attention.
The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.Rick Warren
When we passionately believe in what we do & WHY we do it, then the negative words or applause of men won’t affect us much.Sidney Mohede
Your greatest obstacle to personal growth isn’t ignorance; it’s the illusion of knowledge. It’s in believing you’ve ‘arrived’.Bob Gass
When you truly serve, you don’t care who gets the credit.Anon