Bible Study Opportunities
"Do Not Be Afraid, Little Flock"
By Jon W. Quinn
Life can get complicated! Problems arise; some obstacles seem almost insurmountable. There's financial concerns, health concerns, family concerns, job concerns, societal concerns and educational concerns. Pretty much everybody has to deal with these all these things at one time or another. Pity the poor fellow who is so buried in the rubbish of the world that this is all his life amounts to; struggling against one concern after the other has become his life; his greatest goal being to take care of the problem at hand knowing that more are on their way tomorrow.
No wonder so many people are frustrated with their lives, unhappily existing and cynical about the future. I believe that part of the reason for the cynicism of so many Americans that leads them to make heroes of the most unheroic figures is that they are despairing. Why else would such an unhappy, immoral, whiny person such as Rose Ann Barr (or what-ever she's calling herself today) be so popular? It's sad that so many people's lives are so depressing that she looks and sounds good to them. This is not a statement against her but rather against that which she represents.
Jesus never lost an opportunity to let His light shine in a dark place. He insisted that our lives to not need to be filled with fear, cynicism and uncertainty. There is a better way to live, but it takes a clear perspective, courage and faith. On one occasion, He put it this way: "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; not for your body, as to what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? If then you cannot do a very little thing, then why are you anxious about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil or spin; but I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O men of little faith! And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall 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 for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your
Father has chosen to gladly give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make for yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:22-24).
THE VALUE OF LIFE
"For life is more than food, and the body than
clothing." (Luke 12:23). What a shame that so many have reduced their lives to the point of meaningless. To deny the spiritual side of ourselves and to begin to measure life by what we eat or wear (or drive or live in) is to do just that. Life becomes absurd, and not worth very much, when its value is reduced by measuring it by such a
Jesus insists that life is more than that. We do not live to eat and wear, but eat and wear so that we may live. Food provides the body with energy; clothing provides warmth and protection. A materialistic person may deck themselves out in the most ornate jewelry and dress possible, but its all quite empty apart from a higher reason for living. Do not allow materialism to rob you of life's meaning and value; nor of life eternal.
SEE THE RAVENS!
"Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom or barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than birds!" (Luke 12:24). Jesus contrasts the ravens with the man of his previous parable who busied himself building more and larger barns. The rich man was so materialistic that he only thought of himself in those terms. He did not think of himself as man, the creature or man, the worshiper or man, the offspring of God.
As human beings, we are better than the birds, or any other of earth's creatures. We bear the Creator's image. The blood of the Redeemer has been shed for us. If God cares for the physical needs of the ravens, certainly He cares for all of our needs.
Of course it is not wrong to build barns and storehouses. Its not wrong to sow and reap. In fact, those are good things. That's not the point. The point is that we need to recognize our role in God's creation, and have faith in His care.
SEE THE LILIES!
"Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil or spin... if God so arrays the grass of the field... how much more will He clothe you, O men of little faith!" (Luke 12:27,28). God's natural processes provide beauty in the appearance of the lilies which not even Solomon could match. You can't either. There is a beauty which does not depend upon fancy clothing or gold or silver. It has to do with character. Even as God's natural processes bestow beauty upon the lilies, His spiritual process will bestow beauty upon the faithful. But if all we are concerned about is the outward things, then we will miss that wonderful design which God intends for our lives.
"...but your father knows that you need these things." (Luke 12:30). You, as believers in God, do not need to continue to harass your hearts and minds with the anxieties of the world. Those who have, with the Psalmist, learned to say, "The Lord is my Shepherd" will also say, "I shall not want."
"But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you." (Luke 12:31). Let the eternal kingdom take first place in your life. Food and clothing are important, but temporary needs. Those which put eternal things first will discover that it does not demand that they do without the things they need to live. Putting the kingdom first does not mean that we have not time to eat or dress, only that we arrange our priorities properly. A chief benefit we receive now for doing so is freedom from anxiety.
WONDERFUL THINGS FOR A
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Perhaps the flock is little, but the Shepherd is brave, loving and wise. We do not need to feel overwhelmed by the immensity of the world and its problems. We see the Shepherd rod and stall, and are comforted. And we see Shepherds happy attitude toward us as He protects, guides and provides; He gladly gives us the kingdom.
A MATTER OF HEART
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:34). Where is the treasure? Well, its according to your heart. There's an old saying. "One man's treasure is another man's junk." I'm afraid that all of this world's treasures will prove to be only worthless junk on the Day of the Lord. It will fade, but not so the treasure of the kingdom.
The world has already proven itself unreliable and its promises empty. It has nothing to offer that will mean anything on that day when we stand before our God. What a tragedy to live a life of anxiety, only to end it unprepared for the life to come. It does not have to be that way. Jesus has a better way.
Reprinted From the Bradley Banner
Bradley Church of Christ
September 18, 1994