John T. Willis

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Do Not Worry--Luke 12:22-34

In order to explain further the significance of the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:16-21, Jesus turned to his disciples and encouraged them not to worry about anything. This is reported in Luke 12:22-34. This is parallel in many ways to Matthew 6:25-34. Jesus' message is full of illustrations as follows. 1. Jesus turned from the surrounding crowds to speak specifically to his disciples. He instructed them not to worry about: (1) food; (2) health; (3) clothing. God our creator gives us food, health, and clothing, and thus we are completely dependent on him in every way. Life is much larger than mere existence. 12:22-23. 2. Ravens cry for food and constantly peck for food (Psalm 147:9; Job 38:41). They are unclean creatures (Leviticus 11:15; Deuteronomy 14:14). Raven are careless creatures and they often do not return to their nest to help their young. And yet God takes care of them consistently. And human beings are of much more value than ravens. 12:24. 3. No one can add a cubit [a foot and a half] to one's height or add a minute to one's life by worrying. See Psalms 39:5; 90:3-12. 12:25-26. 4. Lilies of the field [the scarlet anemone, the Easter daisy, the autumn crocus, ranunculi, and poppies] never work or spin, but their glory far exceeds the glory of Solomon [cf. 1 Kings 10:4-5, 21, 23; 2 Chronicles 9:4, 20, 22]. 12:27 5. The grass of the field is transitory and passing. Isaiah 37:27; 40:6-8; Job 8:12; Psalms 37:2; 90:5-6; 102:12; 103:15. But God clothes every human being much more sufficiently than grass. 12:28. 6. People who do not trust God constantly strive for and are worried about food, health, and clothing. They spend endless time and energy and money to guarantee the significance and future of food, health, and clothing. But God's true followers strive for God's kingdom, God's ongoing rule in the hearts of human beings, and this alone counts. God alone is the great provider of everything and everyone, and no one can prevail without God. 12:29-31. 7. God's people are ALWAYS in the minority. God's people are sheep (Psalms 23; 80:1; 95:7; Isaiah 40:11); they composed a LITTLE FLOCK. See Isaiah 41:14. 12:32. 8. In light of this, Jesus instructs his true followers to sell their possessions and share them with the homeless, the poor, the widow, the orphan, the alien, the helpless. Our treasure is in heaven. "Where your treasure is, thee your heart will be also." 12:33-34. Share these thoughts to others. Add to this YOUR own thoughts and insights and beliefs and feelings. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis

Monday, December 10, 2012

True Christians are FOLLOWERS of God

Our Western culture is saturated with the idea of the importance of LEADERSHIP. This permeates politics, education, business, athletics, medicine, science, philosophy, and yes religion. Depending on one's religion and one's stripe of religion, religious groups place great emphasis on the importance of the pope, cardinals, preachers, executives, elders, pastors--you get the idea. According to the Bible [whether it be the Hebrew Bible or the Newer Testament], the only acceptable LEADER of God's people is God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. Check the concordances and you will realize this is true. Christianity is a counter-cultural religion. All true Christians are FOLLOWERS of God, NOT leaders. 1. Repeatedly, Jesus called all people to "follow" him. The Twelve whom Jesus summoned "followed" him--Matthew 4:18-22; 9:9; Mark 1:18; 2:14-15; Luke 5:11; and often. Jesus told everyone to take up one's cross and follow him--Matthew 16:24; Mark 10:21; Luke 9:23. 2. Samuel told Saul the king of Israel and the Israelites to "follow the Lord" (1 Samuel 12:14). Yes, the earthly king is to FOLLOW the Lord!!! 3. A synonym of "follower" is "disciple." A disciple is a learner, a follower, of God through Jesus Christ. See Matthew 10:24-25; Mark 6:1; Luke 6:40. Check a good concordance and you will see how often the term "disciple" appears in the Bible. A follower of God is not attempting to climb any kind of ladder socially, intellectually, or religiously, but to commit himself/herself to God each day, while a leader quickly becomes self-centered, full of pride, feeling self-important. Share YOUR dreams and drawbacks and aspirations and defeats with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis