The Gospel of Luke - Part 57: Be Ready for Jesus — Luke 12:22-34
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

Remember that Chapter 12 of Luke is where Jesus teaches us how to Live for Jesus, teaching us to:

We dealt with avoiding being hypocritical, how to Be Real in Jesus and last week we started to learn what He taught us about what really counts in life, how to Be Rich in God. Last week we saw Jesus focusing on how foolish it is to build up wealth and possessions in this life. We die, and then what value are they to us?  He used the parable of the rich man building all the new barns for his crops and that night he died. We saw that the man in the parable gave no thought to God, gave no thought to helping other people. He was only concerned with himself and eating, drinking and being merry.  I suggested that that is a picture of society today, especially in this country.

Remember the quotation from Mother Theresa who stated that the more we have the more we want and the more dissatisfied we are. We looked at several verses in the Bible where we are warned about the dangers of wealth and the pursuit of wealth. Jesus called the man in the parable a fool. He was a fool for forgetting God, for living for this life and not eternity. So we see the problem, but what is the solution?

This morning, Jesus tells us How to Manage this Human Nature.

Paul gave Timothy some instruction to pass along to the early Christians, instructions that are just as important to us today.

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. —1 Timothy 6:17-19
I have three recommendations to avoid the foolishness that we are prone to fall into.
  1. The first has to do with God: “put your hope in God”
    We need to remember that joy and fulfillment and security in life don’t come from money but from God. I need to remember that only a personal relationship with God can meet the deep needs of my life; money can’t.
  2. The second has to do with Gratitude: remember that it is “God, who richly provides us with everything...” We need to recognize that all that we have comes from God. The man in Jesus’ story forgot or ignored this truth. James 1:17 tells us
    Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. —James 1:17
    Over and over again, God tells us to “give thanks”
    In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:18

    ...always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. —Ephesians 5:20
  3. The third recommendation has to do with Generous Giving:
    A key to avoiding greed is generous giving. Notice the phrases that Paul used in the First Timothy passage:
    Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share — 1 Timothy 6:18
Does this describe you?  If it does, then you probably don’t qualify as a fool.

Another thing we learn in this Luke passage is:

Don’t Be Anxious:

And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” —Luke 12:22-34
This passage still tracks on the subject of “riches” because what we worry about shows what is really important to us. A greedy person worries about money and possessions. A godly person is concerned (worries) about God and what matters to Him. How many of you here today would say that you are worriers? Instead of our worries, God wants our hearts to be filled with His peace. Can you imagine going days, weeks even months with out worrying? It sounds strange to us. In American, worrying has become the norm.
The Complete Life Encyclopedia says “Doctors call it anxiety. To [others], the every-day term, ‘worry’, is a good approximation of what anxiety means. At the Minirth Meier New Life Clinics, we treat more cases of anxiety than any other type of mental disorder. In fact, we deal with various forms of anxiety every day.”
According to this passage, what are some reasons why we shouldn’t worry?

Charles Wesley, the famous Methodist hymn writer from the 1700’s, is reported to have said that it would be just as inconsistent for him to worry as it would be to take the Lord’s name in vain. What he had in mind, no doubt, was the fact that both are sinful.

The bottom line is: And do not seek... —Luke 12:29   Some translations say, Do not set your heart on... Notice again that the Lord's focus is on our heart. What might be some indicators of what your heart is set upon? In these verses Jesus says, “Do not be afraid, little flock.” —Luke 12:32 Jesus' cure for worry is to direct our attention to God. Does your response to your circumstances reflect a confidence in His love for you and His provision? Do you trust Him to take care of you? Worry is warning light of a lack of faith, of trust.

Where is your treasure?

In verse 34 Jesus nails us: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  In Matthew 6, Jesus puts it this way:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. —Matthew 6:19-21
Invest in what really lasts:

Treasures in heaven can’t be lost to moth or rust or thieves. Jesus is telling us that we need to invest in what will last for eternity. When it comes to eternal investments, someone has said that “you can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead!”

That is what John said in First John 2:

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. —1 John 2:17


Invest in what really matters:

I think the other implication of the phrase “treasure in heaven” is that we need to invest in what really matters. It’s not always easy for us to identify the things that really matter. In fact, you’re probably surrounded by people that treat their possessions like treasure and yet treat people like trash. We get mixed up when it comes to the true value of things. Where are you investing your time, your money, your energy? Are you more like the rich fool of Jesus' parable or more like Jesus Himself? What are some specific ways I can store up treasure in heaven?

Next week — we will continue in Luke 12 where Jesus is teaching us to Be Ready For Jesus

Read through Luke 12 again.