The Gospel of Luke:a commentary & meditation 
 "Do not be anxious about your life"

Scripture: Luke 12:22-34

22 And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse  nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are  you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 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. 28 But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O  men of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. 30 For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well. 32 "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Meditation: Why does the Lord command his disciples to not be anxious about anything? Certainly food and clothing are proper concerns. What makes these concerns foolish and harmful is thinking and acting anxiously about them. Jesus specifically says "do not be of anxious mind" (Luke 12:29). The root word for "anxiety" literally means "being of two minds".  An anxious person is divided, "tossed to and fro", and often paralyzed by indecision. Fear of failure or some bad outcome usually cripples those afflicted with anxiety.  What can free us from anxiety?  The apostle Peter tells us to "cast all our anxieties on God, for he cares about us" (1 Peter 5:7).  Trust and submission to God is the antidote to self-concern and anxiety for one's life.  Our Father in heaven knows our needs better than we do.  Do you place your security in what you possess or in God who possesses you as his beloved son or daughter?

Jesus uses the illustration of nature the birds and the flowers to show how God provides for them in the natural order of his creation. How much more can we, as his children, rely upon God's providential care? God is utterly reliable.  In the Lord's Prayer we are reminded that God is our provider when we pray: Give us this day our daily bread.  What is bread, but the very staple of life and symbol of all that we need to live and grow.  Anxiety is neither helpful nor necessary. It robs us of faith and confidence in God's help and it saps our energy for doing good. Jesus admonishes his followers to put away anxiety and preoccupation with material things and instead to seek first the things of God his kingdom and righteousness.  Anxiety robs the heart of trust in the mercy and goodness of God and in his loving care for us.  God knows our needs even before we ask and he gives generously to those who trust in him.  Do you cast your cares and concerns upon the Lord with trust and faith?

"Lord, free me from needless worries and help me to put you first in my thoughts and concerns.  May I seek your kingdom and righteousness above all else and live each day with gratitude and trust for your providential care for me".

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 (c) 1999, 2000 Don Schwager