Welcome to Part 2!
In Part 1 we had a bit of an overview of the Book of Luke in the Bible.
Chapter 12 of Luke is the chapter that stopped me in my tracks.
I can't wait to get to that point, so let's move on!
Jesus warned His followers against the teaching and lives of the religious leaders. He said the path they walked would lead to death.
A natural question at this point would be:
If the religious leaders didn't know God and their way would lead to death, then,
how can someone know God? What is the way to Life?
Ok, because I believe that the things Jesus teaches are Truth, let's switch to present tense. Try to imagine you are one of His followers or maybe one in the crowd, interested in what He has to say . . .
He is speaking now:
Jesus warns His followers that if they believe what He says and start to live the way He teaches, they will be hunted by the religious leaders, too. His teachings are so revolutionary that they will be treated like criminals for following them.
He spends a lot of time in this chapter reassuring His followers that God loves them and God will take care of them.
He tells them not to be worried about what they will say when they are brought to trial as criminals. He says the Spirit of God will teach them what to say right in that very minute they need it.
What does Life in God's Kingdom look like? How do people live there?
(Oh, man, are you ready?! This is pretty amazing stuff and you may not ever be able to go back after hearing it!)
Jesus says that people who live in God's Kingdom trust God to care for them.
He says that God loves His people so much that He cares for their every need.
God gives them food and drink.
God gives them clothes to wear.
God gives them everything for life.
Instead of worrying about these things and living their lives to provide themselves and their families with these things, people in the Kingdom of God seek God and believe that He will provide what they need to live. Free from worry about "tomorrow," they use what God gives them to serve others, today.
Jesus tells a story to emphasize his point. And, as many of His stories are, it is a parable.
The Story of the Rich Man
“The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’
Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’
The Rich Farmer is a negative example.
He is rich already. He has land that is very productive. The land produces a great harvest.
He has a barn but it isn't big enough to hold all the harvest.
Problem: What to do with the extra that he doesn't have room to store?
His Solution: Find a way to store everything in his harvest. Tear down his barn and build bigger ones.
Why does he want to do this? - So he can stop working and not worry about what he will eat. He can retire and live off his stored goods and grain.
God says to the Rich Man: You fool! Tonight you will die. Now, who will own what you have prepared.
Jesus' Answer to the Parable
Don't worry, God will give you everything you need, including food, drink and clothes.
God cares for the tiny creatures of His Creation and He will care for you.
You are so much more than what you eat, drink or wear.
Seek God's Kingdom and then all these other things will be given.
Are you ready? Now He tells them what they are supposed to do. . .
Instead of worrying and storing up for themselves for the future, the people in God's Kingdom:
1. Sell their possessions.
2. Give to charity/to the poor and needy.
WHY? - People in God's Kingdom don't store up things here on earth. They give! God provides for them and they are free from worry. They are free to think and live eternally - with a view toward Heaven. Treasures for Heaven are found in giving to those in need.
Oh my! We are free! Free to give and give and give from all the abundance God provides!
This is so deep and wide and high; I can barely put my brain around it.
Need some time to let it soak in?
to be continued . . .