Luke 12-13: Let’s Hope the Little Things Add Up

Where is your heart? What staves off worry for you?

So Luke 12-13 is another section of “park and bark”, where Jesus is in front of a crowd rattling off a string of short teachings and parables and responding to Q&A from the crowd. And, honestly, a lot of what he says is pretty hard to hear, if you actually take it in.

You can find your own examples, but 12:32-34 strikes me as one of the hardest:

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom. Sell all your belongings and give the money to the poor. Provide for yourselves purses that don’t wear out, and save your riches in heaven, where they will never decrease, because no thief can get to them, and no moth can destroy them. For your heart will always be where your riches are.”

The whole section leading up to that is the “Three Little Birds” section – don’t worry about a thing, consider the lilies of the field, don’t worry about what you’re going to eat or drink or wear. God’s got you.

But that “Sell everything and give the money to the poor” kinda jumps off the page. Because I’m not doing that, and it worries me a lot to think that Jesus might be serious.  If I’m being honest, the extent to which I do not worry is correlated to the extent to which I can craft a financial escape plan if things go bad. As I look around, I don’t see a lot of other people selling everything and giving the proceeds away and trusting in God to provide, either. Do you? Would you?

And there are poor people aplenty who could use what little I have. If you don’t believe me, I will be happy to introduce you to the ones I know; the orphans looking out for other orphans in Uganda, or Haiti, or Cuba, or West Africa. Even here in the States. More people need help than don’t. But I am not draining my 401K and trusting on God to provide when I can’t work anymore at this point.

So, to the extent I have something to hope about, I’m looking at Luke 13:18-21:

“Jesus asked, ‘What is the Kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it with? It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and plants it in his field. The plant grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make their nests in its branches.’ Again, Jesus asked, ‘What shall I compare the Kingdom of God with? It is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.’”

I really don’t see myself ever getting to the “give literally everything away” stage; I might get Baker Acted if I ever got close. But probably if I looked at a mustard seed or a little yeast, I wouldn’t see a big tree or a big batch of dough, either. 

So I have to hope that the little things lead to bigger things. That the baby steps I take toward not counting on my own (modest and leveraged) riches will be a mustard seed. 

Otherwise, I’m in big trouble. And I probably am not alone.

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