by Pauline Simonsen
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Do not keep seeking what you are to eat and what you are to drink … seek [God’s] kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well (Luke 12:29,31).
Where I live in New Zealand, graceful white arum lilies grow in large clumps in the paddocks – naturalised, common as weeds. I always think of them when I hear Jesus’ famous words, ‘Consider the lilies’ – though the lilies of Israel are no doubt different to my white arums.
Jesus’ point is that they have no value to the farmer – the farmer doesn’t cultivate them, yet the lilies grow abundantly and magnificently in their beauty. God clothes them so for his (and my) pleasure! If he so cares for these ‘worthless’ plants of the field, how much more will he care for us, his treasured children?
Our passage today follows the parable of the rich man, the gospel for this week. Here Jesus goes to the deep heart-reason for human acquisition and greed: our insecurity, our fear. We toil and accumulate to create a security buffer against adversity and poverty – even perhaps against our own insufficient identity. If this striving is our only answer to the frailty and precariousness of human life, no wonder we worry all the time! Will we ever have enough? What if a recession comes? What if I lose my job? How will we live?
And so we strive – and keep striving – for enough, for more … desperately seeking security.
Earlier, Jesus comments, ‘life does not consist in an abundance of possessions’ (Luke 12:15). Now he repeats again: ‘life is more than food, and the body more than clothes’. Material security does not create a full, abundant life. All our readings for this week have proven that.
Only one person can give us what we desperately seek. Jesus declares:
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they [you!] may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:9,10).
Our Heavenly Father knows what we need – we don’t need to strive for it. Instead, Jesus urges us to use our energies seeking him and his lordship in our lives! That way lies life – for you, the people you love and this world!
Thank God, our good shepherd Jesus comes and finds us, drawing us into his pasture. He fills us with his life and peace. That’s real security.
Loving God, I worry way too much. Draw me back to yourself, and remind my soul of your love, grace and provision of all I need. Keep me in perfect peace by fixing my mind on you, today and always. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Pauline is a Bible college teacher and spiritual director in Palmerston North, New Zealand. She’s married to Roger – who is recently retired – and she says she enjoys having him home a bit more! When she gets some free time, Pauline loves cooking and reading and likes nothing better than sitting with a cat on her lap and watching the birds in her garden.