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.

Today’s Prayer

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.

每日灵粮
星期五,2021年3月5日
标题:你犯了第二件蠢事吗?
作者: 张祯祥传道
翻译:陈月妃

路加福音12:29“你们不要求吃甚么、喝甚么、也不要挂心。”

两周前,我们看了一个有关无知财主的比喻。他的问题是什么呢?简而言之,他天真地相信自己的财富是由世上的财富所累积而成的,他自负的世界观把上帝排除在外,并认定一切都在他的掌控之中。有鉴于此,他被冠以“无知”的称号。

你会认为哪一类人是属于“无知”的人呢?一个在心智上不是那么聪明,但却敬畏上帝,并寻求公义生活的人?抑或是一个在世界的道路上精明,并因而成功,但在实际生活中却没有上帝的人?

这是多么的悲伤啊。正如我们那周所思想的,由于他的态度,这个人实际上是贫穷而不是富有的,而且的的确确是个无知的人。

下段开始,耶稣又对门徒说、所以我告诉你们、不要为生命忧虑。这并不是对群众说的,乃是对门徒说的。看来耶稣把这一整段(直到第34节),包括无知财主的比喻,并他这之前所说的一切连接起来!我们该如何来理解呢?

在第一段那里,我们已经确定了那无知财主的问题是什么。现在,如果我们要问,既然耶稣现在是在对祂的门徒说话,祂所着重的是什么,是关于世上财富的问题,一个人的世界观,或是人的生命是由谁掌控的问题?

耶稣早些时候已经警告过群众,祂一开始就严厉警告说:“小心!”(在路加福音12:15下半节之前)。“因为人的生命、不在乎家道丰富。”祂曾用一个比喻讲述了第一类无知的人,也就是那个无知财主的态度。如今,又有第二类无知的思想,侵入了门徒之中,这是耶稣想对他们说的。这类无知的人说“上帝并不真正关心我的日常需要。”

有了这些关于财富和财宝的谈话,耶稣大概能意识到门徒们的想法,这十二个舍弃了所有跟随祂的人。担心可能已经开始了,包括担心他们的下一顿饭,那天晚上他们放枕头的地方,衣服穿坏了该穿什么。但实际上,什么是担心?它不是对生命责任的适当关注。相反,这是过度的关心,过分的关注。忧虑是一种情绪上的焦躁和痛苦,这些生命中的未知不断的侵蚀和控制我们。

意识到这一点,耶稣在随后的陈述中煞费苦心地向祂的门徒们保证,许多关于忧虑的事情。简单地说:

•对衣裳和饮食的忧虑是被误导了,以致未能关注更重要的事情。(第22-23节)
•当一个人看到上帝为自然界中的受造物提供了奇妙的食物时,却为饮食和衣裳忧虑是多么的愚蠢(第22-24节)
•忧虑是愚蠢的,因为它是徒然且无意义的(第25-28节)
•为饮食和衣裳忧虑是愚蠢的,因为这显示了一个人对上帝和祂应许必供应祂的追随者的事上缺乏信心。(第29节)

忧虑源于对天父的理解不足。祂看到,知道,关心和行动。我们看待天父的方式和我们理解祂的方式决定了我们面对人生挑战的方式,这决定了我们是否应该忧虑。

除此之外,耶稣想把门徒的思想从眼前,当下带到永恒,祂通过重新调整他们的价值观来表明这一点:

-生命胜于饮食、身体胜于衣裳。
-生命和身体比饮食和衣裳更为重要。
-在神眼中,我们比飞鸟和田野的百合花更为贵重。
-地上的财宝没有什么价值,但天上的财宝却有很大的价值,因为它们经久不衰。
-寻求神的国比寻求物质更重要。

主耶稣是洞察人心的大师。如果祂觉得有必要分享这些话,以让听者相信天父的关心和慈爱,那一定有其充分的理由。

也许,在过去一年所发生的一切事情中,我们当中的一些人可能感到了压力。让我们走近我们的天父,祈祷并再次确认,我们知道祂爱我们,并试图使我们更贴近祂的心和价值观。

今天的祷告
慈爱的天父,我们不知道明天会迎来什么。一年前,在整个国家被封锁之前,我们不知道发生了什么事,也不知道未来会发生什么事。

但全能的耶和华啊,我们知道你大能的双手掌握了我们的年日,我们的生命,并我们所爱的人的生命。谢谢你对我们的关心。我们的父啊,我们倚靠的不是马和车,乃是你,全能的神,天地万有的统治者。正如你养活乌鸦和田野的百合花一样,我们相信你会供应我们的需要。在这一切当中,教导我们你国度的价值观。

奉耶稣的名祷告。阿门。