20 August 2015

Luke 12:22-34

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (v. 34)

Psalm: Psalm 71:15-24


Recruits to the early monastic communities were asked if they desired nothing more than Christ. For most of us that remains a strong and difficult challenge. But desiring God above all things is, so Jesus tells his hearers, ultimately liberating. Let go of your need to control the world around you, make possessions serve the needs of others rather than yourselves, let go of your anxiety about life and health: these are profoundly counter-cultural instructions. But they make sense if we believe that God has ultimate control over human history and that as humans we have an eternal destiny.

Notice that Jesus points to God's care for the whole of creation ("consider the ravens … consider the lilies" (vv. 24, 27)); all living things share in God's careful provision. We are creatures, too, and our special relationship with God should give us trust rather than anxiety. As Jesus points out, our fears and anxieties can't make us live any longer (there is a reference in verse 25 to Psalm 39:5, "you have made my days a few handbreadths").

Jesus is speaking to those for whom a bad harvest could threaten starvation or a period of illness spell disaster. But he tells them that, rather than building up reserves against the possibility of hardship, they should lessen their dependence on possessions and give away what they can.

It is ironic that those of us who are surrounded by much more security than previous generations are still anxious about what will become of us.

To Ponder

  • How does worry manifest itself in your life? Or what gives you most anxiety?
  • How might you invest more of your 'treasure' in God's kingdom and your fellow-creatures? 

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Richard Clutterbuck

Richard Clutterbuck is a minister of the Methodist Church in Britain but since 2004 has served the Irish Methodist Church as principal of Edgehill Theological College in Belfast. His ministry has been divided between pastoral appointments in North London and theological education in the South Pacific (Tonga), Britain and Ireland.