We live in a world saturated with advice on every subject you could think of. Some of the advice even agrees! Think about advice on how to plan for old age, how to deal with workplace stress, even how to plan for the apocalypse (there are communities living ‘off grid’ preparing themselves for when the world implodes). We also live in a world laden with suggestions; that objects will somehow confirm our worth, that clothes should be changed every season, that some foods and drink are good for you even if later that is shown to be not the case and so on.
Here we learn from Jesus how to plan for old age; a certain rich man does well for himself and then puts his feet up. He has shown no sense of service, obedience or faith in these actions and his life is taken from him; “This very night your life will be demanded from you” (12:20). He has stored things up for his own comfort only (see 12:21). How does the rich man’s attitude reflect advice we receive about planning for old age?
We also learn about handling worry. We know that stress is an issue with increasing awareness in our world. Jesus tells His disciples, “do not worry about your life, what you eat; or about your body, what you wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (12:22). Also “Do not be afraid, little flock” (12:32).
Finally, there is the advice for when Jesus returns; “Be dressed read for service and keep your lamps burning” (12:35).
Jesus tells us to be wise and faithful with what we have, He commands us not to worry, He tells us to be prepared and not backslide, He reminds us that much will be demanded of us, but much will be given too. It is our intention with what we have that matters; our sincerity, our faithfulness and trust, our generosity and diligence. Like advice you might receive about which car insurance is best, we have a choice, but unlike most advice, this isn’t really advice at all. It is instruction.
“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these” (12:27).
Father God, thank You for Your provision in my life. Help me to examine my priorities and to seek Your kingdom all my days. In Your Name, amen.