Instead, seek his kingdom
April 1, 2020 | by: Brandon Flynn | 4 Comments
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” — Luke 12:25
Reading: Luke 12:13–34
Most of us are likely familiar with this passage from Luke, and many can probably quote it from memory. The general approach to anxiety in this passage is clear enough — we shouldn’t be anxious, worrying about basic earthly needs (especially if we consider God’s knowledge and care), but “instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you” (v. 31). But how do we seek his kingdom?
Jesus seems to answer that question in verses 32–34: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 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. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Lest we worry about the difficulty of seeking God’s kingdom, Jesus reassures us that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give it to us. But then he issues this command to his disciples: “Sell your possessions and give to the needy” (v. 33). Jesus ends a teaching on anxiety about one’s security with a command to give up security! I can’t speak for everyone, but I am now more anxious than I was before.
But the final verse can help us: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (v. 34). The metaphor of treasure and moneybags calls to mind the process of saving. After all, how does one build up a treasury except by consistent deposits? Where we place our deposits not only indicates what we value, but also shapes what we value, because with each deposit we choose where to place our trust.
If we consistently deposit our resources in our earthly treasury for our own security and well-being, how can we expect that our heart won’t reside there? Could it be that part of why we continue to be anxious (despite constantly reminding ourselves of who God is and how he cares for us) is that we are training our hearts to trust in our earthly treasury?
So how do we deposit our resources in the heavenly treasury? The way laid out for the disciples here is very concrete: give to the needy. But the possibilities are broader — giving to the needy is but one example of instead, seek his kingdom (v. 31). Jesus very well might invite us all at this time to consider how we may use our resources for his kingdom, even in the midst of our anxiety about the future. May the Spirit embolden us to be rich toward God (v. 21).
- Do you agree that our use of our resources both indicates and shapes what we value? Why or why not?
- What does your own use of your resources indicate about where you find security?
- What concrete deposit of your resources (money, time, or otherwise) can you make in seeking God’s kingdom right now, especially toward caring for those in need?