No fear. That's one of the things Jesus seems to be trying to get across to the disciples in Luke 12. Of course, this truth was not only for them in their day but it's just as true for us today. I've read this passage many times over the years but this week, I particularly noticed Jesus driving home the same point over and over: do not be afraid.
Take a look.
Luke 12:22–26 (ESV) — 22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will 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 single hour 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?
Luke 12:29–31 (ESV) — 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
Luke 12:32–34 (ESV) — 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Anxiety is everywhere. Many we know are unemployed or frightfully underemployed. Others have fallen behind on their financial obligations. Some have lost their homes because of health issues or unemployment. Just look at the faces of those around us . . . people are afraid and anxious. I know this feeling far too well.
Of course, these people Jesus speaks to were poor, like most of the non-Western world today. Many of them may have only one other garment to wear. Most of them were one disaster away from destitution. So Jesus writes these words to people like that and he tells them not to be afraid.
Anxiety paralyzes. If you've been overcome with anxiety, you know it's nothing to take lightly. When anxiety spikes, our bodies respond and mostly in negative ways. Before we know it, we're so afraid to do anything, we're paralyzed. We fear failing again. We fear what could happen. We fear the future. Which leads us to the third point . . .
The problem isn't anxiety, it's trust. You see, Jesus is with us. Jesus cares for us. Jesus loves us. Jesus wants the best for us. He says as much in verse 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!"
That's a truth I need to embrace. My problem is that I wrongly think I'm in control of my life. What I need to do is fully trust Jesus with my future. After all, that's a much better way to live - confident that He goes with me and confident that He wants the very best for me (and you).
So, the next time you're feeling afraid and anxious, think about Jesus and trust Him with your future.