“Then Jesus 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. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” Luke 12:22-23 (NIV2011)
Twice in this 12th chapter of Luke Jesus speaks of the meaning of life. In verse 15 he warns: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” In speaking of these ‘inordinate desires’ Jesus uses the Greek root which is translated: “…to have“. He joins this root with an adverb meaning ‘many‘. Jesus is addressing a mindset that is consumed with many desires and is never satisfied. As soon as one desire is gained, the heart goes after another.
In the text before us Jesus is getting closer to where you and I live. And He is telling us not to be anxious about what we are to eat or to drink. Here Jesus used a compound Greek noun composed of a verb meaning ‘to divide’ and a prefix meaning ‘a part’ or ‘a portion’. It is a mind that is distracted over many issues at the same time.
Some Politicians like to focus upon the disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ and want us to believe that it is the role of government to redistribute wealth, so all get an equal portion. Jesus only addressed the inordinate desire of the rich young man who already had an abundance and still wanted more. Greed has no limit and will never be satisfied.
Politicians often focus upon providing people with food and clothes. And where there is hunger and nakedness, we need to address this. There is, however, an unspoken insight when Jesus speaks about the birds not being farmers. Even though they cannot sow, reap or gather into the barns, God doesn’t bring the bird’s food to their nests. He provides for them, but they must search and scratch to attain their need.
The unwritten principle Jesus is making is that as you and I make an effort to take care of ourselves, God will see to it that our needs are supplied. Some effort on our part is demanded.
Remember that Jesus is talking about the real meaning of life!
—Written by Rev. Ivan L. Schwenn, 2019—