Holy Week | Wednesday
Week 6 | What Can We Expect As Followers of Christ?
Do Not Be Afraid Little Flock: God Provides
by Janet Nygren
Read: Luke 12:22-34
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- In the passage preceding this one, Jesus is addressing a focus on possessions and greed. As Jesus turns the focus to ravens, wild flowers, and sheep, how does he shift the responsibility for provision? Who provides and who receives?
- If we hold onto responsibility for the things we need–food, clothing, and other things for preserving our lives–what does Jesus say happens to our priorities in life? What is life all about?
- What can we expect if we put our focus primarily on God’s kingdom instead? How does Jesus say it will transform our lives?
- Where is your treasure? Or another way to get at the same question is, what do you fear?
- Do Jesus’ words ring true–is your heart consumed by such things/people? What does “life” consist of for you?
- Take a few minutes to reflect on your life in decades. How has God provided for you? Take some time to thank him for the ways his kingdom has extended into your life.
- Do you have stories of God’s provision for you when you seek first his kingdom? Do you struggle with the worries of this world? A bit of both? Encourage your fellow flock-members with stories of God’s pleasure on behalf of you and his kingdom.
“Jireh”, a song by Maverick City Music has been a blessing to me. The word means “Provider”, and looking back over my life, I see how God has provided for every need and many of my wants. Ruth, it has been a delight to get to know you through your comments. I am praying that God will guide you and your husband as you seek to serve Him. I pray that God will guide my words as I speak. I love the promise that the Holy Spirit will counsel us, comfort us, and lead us into all Truth. I want to live in a constant state of submission. As we come to communion this morning, the first song we will sing is “I Surrender All”. May God’s peace rest upon all of us today.
Growing up in a family with little, at least materially, may have made trusting God to provide easier for me as an adult. My parents often showed that they had to trust God for daily needs, and this became an ordinary way of life.
But in some ways it made me also fear losing my job, even though I did believe that God had provided the work that sustained us, and that he could do it again any time this was needed. However, when I had a mental health crisis about a year into my marriage to AJ--it became clear after some counseling that my work was not fulfilling, in fact, that I struggled with the morality of the atmosphere where I was working, and it was causing me an existential and emotional crisis. My counselor helped me to come to a place where I could leave the state job behind, and here we are today, 28-ish years later, living a life I only dreamed of then.
Yet, still today I feel that my biggest fear is connected to my work--not so much that I will lose my job, but that I will not be respected or appreciated in the same way the "normal" professors (those who had middle-class upbringing, went to college right after high school, grad school right away, and have been academically successful for their entire 35 years on earth).
I think sometimes that says that my treasure lies in my ability to do things well and to be respected by others for doing things well, which causes me to live in a state of comparison too often. It's an ongoing struggle!
If we can truly have the kind of faith Jesus describes, it’s incredibly freeing. Imagine being able to choose any job or career without having to worry about money! That doesn’t mean finances won’t be tight some of the time, or maybe all of the time. It definitely takes faith! Jesus doesn’t promise wealth, but he does promise to take care of us. This has been true in my life in countless ways. To give just one example, as a missionary kid, with no money at all, I attended four years at Stanford University for the grand total of $5000. God doesn’t owe us blessings like that, but it’s amazing how often he is generous to us in surprising ways.
I can really relate to what Melody is saying. For me it's not the upbringing, but starting a career later in life and comparing myself to others who have been in it for much longer. But I guess it's not just that. When we were away last weekend we heard a sermon that centered around the question of "enough," which ties in well with today's passage. I think at the core, I am always asking myself if I am enough, if I have enough, if there is enough time, if I am good enough. The focus revolves around me. If I could shift that focus and remember that God is enough, perhaps I would feel more free to live to the fullest in the way Jesus describes. It really comes down to faith, doesn't it? God has always been enough, yet I forget and grip tightly to what I have rather than what he has for me. Lord help me remember, and keep my eyes fixed on you, not myself.
Janet, that is so true! Thank you for the reminder that it's all about Jesus, not me.
Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers Nick. I love reading your testimonies and everyone else’s, which are so well thought out. I would just say today that after owning a business for 30 years, we still can’t believe how God provided. Somehow throughout it all, we managed to send three kids through private Christian school and stay out of debt hundred percent and also help them start their college years. The strangest thing would happen with our business, which was a cleaning business. We would lose several commercial accounts and start wondering what was going on and then lo and behold we would get better accounts that made us more money. This happened countless times. Through it all we just marveled at God’s graciousness. Thanks be to God for His infinite wisdom, and how He chooses to provide for us.