walk in the word
Category: Finances, Problems, Spiritual Life
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
Do you have a hot button? If somebody brings up a certain subject, do you feel compelled to tell them what you think? Yeah, me too.
It shouldn’t surprise us to know that Jesus had a couple of subjects like that. In Luke 12, He had been pouring His heart out on some pretty intense issues and then somebody interrupted Him from the crowd with a question that just happened to be Jesus’ hot button. Beginning in verse 13, the man in the crowd said to Him, “ ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide my inheritance with me.”
What? Jesus had some big things on the table, like salvation and the reality of persecution to come, and out of nowhere this guy strings out his family’s dirty laundry. But seizing the teachable moment for some timely instruction, Jesus answers him.
In effect He says, “You want to talk finances? You want to talk about money? Listen up!” And then all the way from verse 13 through 40, Jesus goes off on this subject giving us the most concentrated teaching in all of the New Testament on the believer’s relationship to stuff—our money and possessions, and our desire for more.
If you struggle with wanting things you don’t have, or are convinced that more is better, then get your Bible and read Luke 12:13-40. We’re gonna camp here a while because this young man has brought up a subject that’s not too far from our hearts either.
The first thing Jesus covers is the reality that “our life does not consist in the abundance of things we possess” (v. 15). Yet we think it does. Jesus says categorically, “No, you have that exactly backwards. A man or a woman’s life doesn’t consist of our stuff.”
Notice what Jesus does next—He turns to His disciples. Make a note of it—this lesson is only for those who know Him as Savior. He says, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing ” (v. 22-23). It’s not what you wear, it’s who you are. Then He gives this illustration:
“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (v. 24).
So what makes you more valuable than the birds? God does. He has determined to set His love upon you. The value is in the One who loves you and me; not intrinsically in us.
But wait a minute, James, you may say. If I don’t worry about my finances and preparing for the future, who will? What if I get sick? What if something happens to me? And the answer is, What if? You can’t do anything about that anyway. If you’re worrying, you’re not lengthening your life. Verse 26:
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven…” (vs.25-26).
If God takes care of a bunch of flowers that has a one-year shelf life, “how much more will He clothe you?” And then these gentle words, “O you of little faith!”
We’re like, “Man, it always seems to come down to faith, doesn’t it!” Ding!
What are you struggling with? Can you trust God with your life? Jesus says so tenderly,
“…O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things…”
We’re supposed to be different. “…and your Father knows that you need them” (v. 30). What a tender statement that is. Your Father knows what you need.
You say, Well, if I can’t be like worried about these things, if I can’t be intense about the future and my finances, what can I be intense about? It’s in the next verse, “Seek His kingdom” (v. 31). Be intense about God’s thing. You take care of God’s business, God will take care of your business. That’s how it works!
My wife Kathy and I learned these lessons when our money was so small it would be embarrassing for me to tell you. But again and again we learned that you can’t out-give God.
Nothing stirs your faith like stepping forward with what you have and saying, “Lord, I don’t know how You’re going to replenish this; I was sort of counting on this to take care of me. But I’m seeking Your kingdom first.” I tell you, it will grow your faith!
Jesus concludes with, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (v. 32). What’s that kingdom? It’s everything you need. Everything your heart desires. Everything that would bless and fulfill your life.
I’ve never known a man or a woman to be greatly used by God who did not learn this lesson first: Give your best—your everything—to God! And watch God flow back so much blessing into your life that you don’t even have room to contain it! Surrendering your stuff to God is one of the most invigorating things you will ever do! Why?
Jesus summarizes with this thought:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v. 34).
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