Friday, 5 March, 2021
Title: Are you guilty of the second folly?
by: Ps Cheng Cheung
Luke 12:29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things.” NLT
Two weeks ago we had a look at the Parable of the Rich Fool. What was his problem? In a few short phrases – his naïve belief that his wealth consisted of earthly treasures, his conceited worldview that excluded God and the presumption that he was in control. Based on this, he was branded a ‘fool’.
Whom would you more likely describe ‘a fool’? One who may not be very clever mentally but who fears God and seeks to live righteously? Or one who is astute in the ways of the world, and therefore prospered, but for whom God does not exist in reality?
How sad. As we reflected that week, this man is in fact, poor, not rich, because of his attitude, and was indeed, a fool.
The next section starts ‘And he said to his disciples, “ For this reason I tell you, do not be anxious for your life . . ” ’ This was not addressed to the crowd, but H͟i͟s͟ d͟i͟s͟c͟i͟p͟l͟e͟s͟. It appears Jesus is connecting this whole section up to verse 34 to everything He had said just before this, including the parable of the rich fool! What do we make of it?
In the first paragraph above, we had determined what was the problem of the rich fool. Now, if we were to ask ‘ Since Jesus is now speaking to his disciples, what is the concern he is pointing to, which is similar to the issue of earthly wealth, one’s worldview, and the question of who is in control of all of life? ’
Jesus had already cautioned the crowd earlier and he started with a stern warning “Watch Out!” before he proceeded in Luke 12:15b “ . . life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” He had addressed t͟h͟e͟ f͟i͟r͟s͟t͟ f͟o͟l͟l͟y͟ of the attitude of the rich fool with a parable. Now, there is a͟ s͟e͟c͟o͟n͟d͟ f͟o͟l͟l͟y͟ which had entered the thinking of the disciples which Jesus wanted to address. This folly says ” God does not really care for my daily needs. ”
With all this talk about wealth and treasure Jesus could probably sense what was going on in the minds of the disciples and the twelve, who had left all to follow him. Worry might have set in, including concerns about their next meal, where to lay their heads that evening and what to wear when their garments wore out. But what is worry, actually? It is not the presence of appropriate concern for life’s responsibilities. Rather, it is undue care, exaggerated concern. Worry is the emotional distraction and distress that comes from allowing the duties and the unknowns of life to absorb and control us.
Sensing this, Jesus took pains to assure His disciples of many things regarding worry in the statements that followed. In plain terms:
• Worry about clothing and food is misdirected, failing to focus on what is most important. (vv 22-23)
• Worry about food and clothing is foolish, when one considers God’s marvelous provision for His creatures, as seen in nature (vv 22-24)
• Worry is foolish because it is fruitless and futile (vv 25-28)
• Worry about food and clothing is foolish because it shows a lack of faith in God and His promises to provide for his followers. (v 29)
Worry results from an inadequate understanding of our Heavenly Father. He sees, knows, cares and acts. The way we view our Father and the way we understand His ways determines the way we look at life’s challenges and this determines whether we worry or not.
In addition to that Jesus wanted to bring the disciples’ minds away from the here and now to the eternal, He showed this by realigning their values:
- Life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
- Life and the body are of greater importance than food and clothes.
- We are of greater value to God than birds or the lilies of the field.
- Treasures on earth are of little value, but heavenly treasures are of great value, because they last.
- Seeking God’s kingdom is much more important than seeking material things.
The Lord Jesus is a master at perceiving the human heart. If He felt the need for sharing these words which assured the listeners of the Father’s care and love, there must have been a good reason.
Perhaps, in the midst of all that has been going on around us in the past year, some of us may be feeling the strain. Let us approach our Heavenly Father and pray and re-affirm that we know He loves us and seeks to draw us closer to His heart and values.
Gracious Heavenly Father, we know not what tomorrow will bring. One year ago before the whole country was placed in lockdown, we had no idea what was going on and what the days ahead would bring.
But O mighty Jehovah, we know You hold the days and our lives and the lives of our loved ones in Your mighty hands. Thank you that You care for us. Our Father, our confidence is not in horses and chariots but in You, the Almighty God, the ruler of heaven and earth. Just as You provided for the ravens and the lilies in the fields, we trust that You will provide for us. In the midst of all this, teach us kingdom values.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.