Part 5 in a series James Gensberg
So this is the reason I’ve been writing this little series. This sequence of stories seems to happen one after the other. I looked at them individually because I think it is too easy to separate them but when read together they seem to all link together. I think there was one overall point Jesus was making. Even when someone tried to interrupt him. He took notice. He didn’t brush the guy off and just carry on, but he DID continue to make the same point. The interruption seems irrelevant, but it wasn’t….
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I completely get what Jesus was driving at but apparently it hasn’t stopped me trying to explain it. (Answers on a postcard….)
So. Here is my highly paraphrased version of Luke 12:1-34. (What I like to call the St James Version!)
1-3 The Religious Elite (Pharisees) are hypocrites (They say/show one thing in order to look good, but actually do/believe another thing all together.) Do not be like them. What you do in public and in secret must be the same.
4-5 This also means that you should not keep the truth a secret. This will make you unpopular with some people. They might even hurt you, but they can only hurt your body. Your soul (the eternal part of you) is out of their reach.
6-7 You are worth nothing to them. They are only in it for themselves. You’re a commodity to be exploited or thrown away. God values you. He doesn’t forget a single (cheap) bird (which you value at less than a penny) and you are more precious to him than many birds.
8-10 Believing what I’ve taught you and keeping it to yourself helps no-one. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be afraid. Me and my good news are more important than your reputation and your safety. Prioritise me ahead of Men and I will prioritise you ahead of Angels. Disown me or hide my involvement in your life and I will disown you too. [According to Strong’s Greek, to ‘Blaspheme’ means refusing to acknowledge good (worthy of respect, veneration); hence, to blaspheme which reverses moral values. So this whole unforgivable Sin thing seems to be about not prioritising the Holy Spirit in our lives or keeping it a secret].
11-12 Do you feel like your public speaking or you defence of your faith isn’t up to it? Don’t worry. The Holy Spirit will make sure you equipped when the time comes.
13 Someone in the crowd calls out ‘You seem like a man with authority, maybe if YOU tell my brother to give me money he will listen to you.’
14-15 Jesus replies ’It’s not my business to settle your dispute, and besides. What do you want all that money for? Money isn’t going to help you. You won’t find a full life in the abundance of possessions. [The word Life here is zóé, which means ‘life both physical and spiritual, sustained by God’s self-existence’ and ‘The Lord intimately shares His gift of life with people, creating each in His image which gives all the capacity to know His eternal life.’ Wow. That’s what God wants to share with us…. :’) ]
16-19 Then Jesus tells them a story about a farmer with good business sense, but calls him foolish. The Farmer has a bumper crop, so he builds bigger barns to keep it all in so that he can retire. Jesus questions his priorities.
20 If he died that night all his work will have gone to waste. He will not benefit from it. While he’s alive he’ll never need worry again. He thinks he has a long term plan, but what about when he dies? What then? All the grain in the world won’t help him then. He’ll be poor in the afterlife. He’ll have nothing. But what can he have done differently?
21 This is what will happen to you too if you keep what you have for yourself rather than using what you have for the benefit of God(s people). [Rich (towards God) = plouton = success/yield/dividend I.e. the benefit of your labour/investment]
22-31 THEREFORE (I love that word. Sometimes) Don’t worry about the stuff which only counts while you’re here. Don’t prioritise anything that doesn’t have eternal value. This includes not getting bogged down in rules after rules after rules. Cling to the principle. Is this of eternal value. Will this lead to a God-Dividend? Put yourself in God’s hands and those things you’re currently worried about will be his problem and he’s better than you are sorting them out. He’ll take care of your needs and desires.
32-34 You’re family now. Don’t limit yourself to what you already have. When you see a need and you hold the means in your hand then empty your hand. Then you’re hand will be free to take whatever you need from the family treasure. God’s treasure. Not only that, but whenever your prefer the needs of others to your own you make a deposit in your eternal account. When you enter the afterlife your eternal riches await you. Riches that cannot be stolen and don’t waste away.
Wow, that was long. Here’s a really abridged version:
Be truthful and open.
You’re God’s. Don’t worry about people no matter how scary they are.
God treasures you. Treasure him too.
When this causes trouble for you God will be with you and give you all you need.
Don’t let anything in this world get in the way of doing your best for God, e.g. don’t chase money and a comfortable life, or even in order to work better for God. God knows what you need better than you and is better than you at sorting it so let him worry about that bit.
So there you have it. Value. Treasure. Priority. Efforts.
Don’t waste yours. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. You are Treasured.
And of course…. Do not worry.