The Gospel According to Luke: Part 31 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

An Exposition

Luke 12:22-34: “Worry is Time Wasted”

“Then He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap which have neither storehouse nor barn, and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow. They neither toil or spin, and yet I say to you even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.

“For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is in your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms, provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, where the thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:22-34, NKJV).

This passage of Scripture has its parallel in Matthew 6:25-34 as part of what is referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. Luke presents it in his account of Jesus’ life and ministry to show his readers that he affirms Matthew’s eyewitness account and gives legitimacy to other witnesses whom Luke interviewed in writing this gospel at the request of Theophilus, his benefactor and fellow believer (Luke 1:1-4).

Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s writings are known as the Synoptic gospels due to the similar material found in each account. When studying the life of an individual, a scholar or student will not rely on just one source to compose a report or evaluation, but common sense will tell him to attempt and present an objective account of the subject so as to give potential readers a balanced view of what they have presented.

Unfortunately for today, we are awash in biographies and events in history that tend to lean towards the author’s perspective, which often does not show the subject of the book in a favorable light. The Lord Jesus has been the subject of countless biographies and studies from a wide variety of clergy, scholars, skeptics, and public officials since the time of His departure to heaven (Acts 1:1-11). Roman historians tended to mock and ridicule Him, modern skeptics strip Him of His deity, lowering Him to a mere Jewish sage, liberal clergymen write Him off as a teacher whose body is hidden somewhere moldering in the grave for all time, and some degrade Him to the point where many believe He never existed.

The Christian apologist and author of Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, made it perfectly clear as to where he stood about Jesus Christ, and it is worth repeating here:

  • I am trying to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him (Jesus): ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I do not accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or else the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this Man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that up to us. He did not intend to.

Too much blood has been spilled over the centuries concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ to even answer some of the ridiculous and pointless objections and venom that have been thrown at Him. It is sheer laziness and willful ignorance on the part of the skeptic to come down off his pedestal of perceived intellectualism and investigate the facts for himself. I have experienced the grace, mercy, and personal interaction of Him over the years, and I will defend this stand and the validity of the Scriptures for the remainder of my days. What has been written about Him in the Holy Word is His direct and inerrant proclamation, and what we read in Luke 12:22-34 are His exact and precise teachings on a specific topic that speaks to the mind of man today in this fluctuating and unstable world, namely that of worry.

Our LORD states that first, worry is a plain and undeniable lack of faith in God to provide for our needs; and second, worry is the fruit that is produced when seeds of doubt are planted. He gives us two common causes for concern, that of the source of food and clothing and where they can be obtained during times of want and daily life in general. This is prevalent in our nation now as people try to find work in a world where a contagious disease has turned the economy and lifestyle of which we are accustomed into a time of worry, fright, and emotional outcries.

The world can pull its hair out and run to the debt-ridden government as the socialists and secularists call on the public to do, with the intention of controlling their lives in the process, or those of us who say we trust in the provision of the LORD need to demonstrate that what we proclaim does come to pass, and that trusting in Him for our needs is the answer to a lot of the problems that we put on ourselves when we act like the world. There are too many so-called believers who claim that God watches out for them yet will pull out their credit cards in a panic to purchase what they think they need instead of going before the LORD and asking Him to provide for them.

In this consumer-driven atmosphere in which we live, our eyes are too easily taken off the fact that it is the LORD who is the source of our strength and supply, and the Scriptures affirm that throughout their entirety (Psalm 24:1, 50:10, 60:7, 89:11; Jer. 27:5; Matt.6:25, 13:22; Luke 10:41, 12:29, 21:34; Acts 17:25; 1 Cor.7:32, 10:28; Phil.4:6; 1 Peter 5:7). Too bad that a lot of us tend to put the Bible on the living room table for most of the week and then pick it up to take to church on Sunday where we sing about the greatness of God and His Sovereignty over all things.

God can also provide for someone’s needs by some of His children prying open their wallets and paying for the groceries of an elderly couple or a single mother with her kids in tow at the checkout stand of the store. We can also be a blessing by paying for the meal of a serviceman or veteran in a restaurant, or a police officer who is all too often the recipient of hatred by society. We can provide for the needs of a homeless man on the street by going into a nearby store and buying a bottle of water and a sandwich for him, telling him about the God who does care for His creation, and you end up winning him to Christ. The city rescue missions need someone to give a destitute individual some kindness and the love of Jesus when they have dealt with a lifetime of abuse or other circumstances.

All too often it is a case of “bless me, LORD” and not “How can I be a blessing to others?” We want others to do the work that God has assigned to us. Stop and think for a moment. God may be calling upon you to ease and rid someone of worry by being the provider and friend they need to have at that moment (Psalm 41:1; Proverbs 14:21, 19:17, 28:8, 27; James 1:7, 2:1-4).

I am not speaking from an ivory tower as I write this lesson. I have been on the receiving side of assistance from brethren, and I have experienced blessings from being a provider impressed of God to serve Him in ministries that a lot of people might not consider. I grew up in a poor neighborhood and went to work in my teen years, trusting that God would open doors for me to accomplish this priority. For those of you who are looking for work and reading this, stop and ask the LORD for His direction and guidance, and wait on His timing to provide you with the job you need or get unexpectedly.

Jesus tells the crowd to consider the birds and the flowers of the fields and see that they are not worried about where their next meal or nourishment originates. Their instincts, given to them by the Sovereign God of Creation, points them in the direction to receive what they need each day. Jesus tells the people that if God can do this for His animals and plants, we are far more important and valuable in His sight. We were appointed the stewards of the earth, and we can talk to our Creator and have fellowship with Him. He will always be our loving Father and the source of our needs, NOT OUR WANTS! There is a wide difference between the two, and we need to remember that as we go through life.

The greatest need anyone can have is to be forgiven of their sins, repent, and place their faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation and peace with God. As the late singer and man of God Keith Green wrote in one of his songs, “He’ll take care of the rest.” Trust in God. He knows your situation, so quit worrying already. He is good all the time, even now.