The holiday season has a way of exposing what we worry about the most. In preparation for the Christmas season, I decided to read through the Gospel of Luke. Recently I came across this all-familiar passage that struck me differently than before.
“Do not worry about everyday life…these things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs…wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:22, 30, 34
Jesus had just finished telling his disciples they needn’t worry about death or the harm that others could do to them. Instead, he encouraged them to entrust themselves to the One who holds all authority and power in both this world and the next. It is after this interaction that Jesus launches into his famous words on anxiety and the cares of this world.
Do not worry, he says, about how you will get your needs met. And while I may not worry about my next meal, there is one need that dominates my thoughts continuously:
How will I be able to function? And how can I minimize my pain? How long will I have the strength to endure this?
Every circumstance is analyzed for risk, every thought filled with worry. Often I feel like my health needs rest completely on my shoulders; like it’s up to me to fix my circumstances, solve my pain problem, protect myself, and eliminate risk.
I don’t have room to be grateful when I’m too busy being worried and stressed.
But Jesus’ words cut right to the heart: “You men of little faith…your Father knows that you need these things” (12:28, 30). At first glance this may sound like a harsh rebuke. But in actuality, it is a gentle re-prioritizing of our loves.
The words “you of little faith” in Greek literally read “you who trust too little”. In that instant, it was as if Jesus was sadly whispering to me, “After all our time together, do you still not trust me to take care of you?”
His words pierced my soul.
How many times do I tentatively trust God with one protective hand over my heart?
When circumstances are hard, it’s easy to worry because I forget God. In all my attempts to control and protect myself I forget it is His job to care for my needs, not mine.
Jesus calms our anxiety by reminding us that our provider is not only God Almighty but our intimate Father. The word itself is intimate and personal. God is our loving, attentive Daddy. He is invested in us as His children.
God not only knows our needs but He is paying attention to our lives so that He may take action. He does not sit idly by and watch our lives unfold. He is present and working in the midst of our circumstances.
If not one bird is forgotten by God (12:6), how much more is He attuned to us! God surrounds us with His goodness so that whichever way we turn we run into tokens of His mercy and grace, regardless of circumstances (Ps 65:11).
Life is good because God is in it. No matter what I face there is always a reason to be grateful and full of hope because Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. Our cares, He carries.
Whatever we treasure most will rule our heart and mind. How do we know what our treasure is? We’ll find it at the root of our worries; the thing that dominates our thoughts the most.
This year, make Jesus your treasure. You can trust him fully and cast your cares upon him because he cares for you (1 Pet 5:7).
Where can we find true comfort and joy? In the arms of our loving Father. When we allow Him to reign supreme in our hearts and minds, the outcome will always be greater trust, peace, adoration and praise. It is our relationship with the living Jesus that brings us true comfort and joy. Emmanuel, our God, is with us; and that is a reason to celebrate this season.
- What are you often concerned or stressed about?
- How does this affect your gratitude?
- What would it look like to trust God even more in this area?