Luke 12:20-21, 29-31
20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” …
29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
Am I acting like a fool? I should probably ask myself this question more often than I do. And in the passages above, the foolish man, the faithless man, is the one who focuses and worries so much about the here and now that he forgets eternity.
In both the above passages, there is a lack of eternal thinking that makes people miss the glory of God. The rich farmer in the parable thinks his gathering of possessions makes him secure even though his death is imminent.
Then, in a softer section, Jesus reminds his followers that worrying about food and clothing should not mark the lives of the people of God. Even though the nations of the world all run after such things, the people of God are to trust him and know that he will take care of them.
So, where do I worry too much about worldly things? Where do I fret too much about my own financial security instead of simply loving and following God? It’s easier to do than you might think. Both churches and individuals do it. And, do not think for a moment that I am talking negatively here about making wise financial decisions or being good stewards.
A church looks like the world when it begins to tailor its ministries and services chiefly for the purpose of security. If the leaders or parishioners begin to make decisions about ministry based on worry about the church’s future stability, there could be a problem. What I mean is, if the church begins to be desperate to draw new people in, but that desperation is less about the glory of God in the salvation of the lost and more about making sure the bills are paid by new giving units, the church is acting worldly. Or, if the church shifts her focus to being inward and comfortable in order to keep the current giving units happy, the church is acting worldly.
Similarly, we as individuals might, if we are not careful, think and live in a worldly way. What about stepping out in faith? What about moving onto the mission field or planting a church? Do you have to have all of the right financial numbers line up so that you know, without a doubt, that nothing miraculous has to take place before you will make a move? When giving, do you have to be sure that your giving will not in any way hinder your lifestyle before you will give in a certain way? Are you staying in a job or ministry that does not fit you because of fear that you would not be able to make ends meet otherwise?
You know, I don’t actually know how this should all shake out. There is a call for wise and responsible living to be sure. But there is also a call on the Christian to live by faith, to not worry about food and clothing, and to trust God with his or her future. We must not be careless. But we also must not be paralyzed by fear. We should be good stewards. But we should also trust that God is able to provide for us in ways that we could never have imagined.