Luke 12:22-31

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

June 20, 2001


Jesus has been addressing the issue of greed. It all started back in Luke 12:13 –

(Luke 12:13-21 KJV) And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. {14} And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? {15} And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. {16} And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: {17} And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? {18} And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. {19} And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. {20} But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? {21} So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

It’s not that Jesus was unwilling or unable to be a proper judge between this man and his brother. The problem wasn’t that they needed a judge, the problem was that these two men were greedy, living their lives by living for money.

:22 And he said unto his disciples,

Up to this point, Jesus has addressed His remarks to the crowd in general after the man asked Jesus to be His “judge”.

But at this point, Jesus turns and addresses His disciples. He is talking to the smaller group around Him, the group that has made a commitment to follow Him.

The “crowd” contains people that are skeptical and people that are simply curious.

The group of disciples” contains the folks that are committed.

:22 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

Keep in mind, Jesus is talking to people living in a society where they get their life from farming. Most people spent most of their life in the pursuit of getting enough food to eat. When it came to clothing, they had to shear the sheep, spin the wool into thread, weave the thread into cloth, and then sew the cloth into clothes. Having clothes to wear wasn’t as simple as going to Mervyn’s and worrying about which outfit to buy.

lifepsuche – breath; life; the soul

put onenduo – to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

take … thoughtmerimnao – to be anxious; to be troubled with cares; to care for, look out for (a thing); to seek to promote one’s interests; caring or providing for

It comes from the word merizo, meaning “to divide”, “to divide into factions”, and the idea is that your mind is “split” into “yes” or “no” when you are anxious and worrying. Our English word worry comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word that means “to strangle.”


Worrying is dangerous

According to John MacArthur, some years ago, the Mayo Clinic stated that statistically 80 percent to 85 percent of their total case load were ill either in reality or artificially due directly to mental stress.  Also according to MacArthur, not too long ago, there appeared an article in a leading medical journal entitled, "Is Stress the Cause of All Disease?"  The author of the article says that at the beginning of the century, bacteria were considered to be the center of attention.  Today, mental stress has replaced bacteria.
Beethoven's grave
When Beethoven passed away, he was buried in a churchyard. A couple days later, the town drunk was walking through the cemetery and heard some strange noise coming from the area where Beethoven was buried. Terrified, the drunk ran and got the priest to come and listen to it. The priest bent close to the grave and heard some faint, unrecognizable music coming from the grave. Frightened, the priest ran and got the town magistrate. When the magistrate arrived, he bent his ear to the grave, listened for a moment, and said, “Ah, yes, that’s Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, being played backwards.” He listened a while longer, and said, “There’s the Eighth Symphony, and it’s backwards, too. Most puzzling.” So the magistrate kept listening, “There’s the Seventh... the Sixth... the Fifth...” Suddenly the realization of what was happening dawned on the magistrate. He stood up and announced to the crowd that had gathered in the cemetery, “My fellow citizens, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just Beethoven decomposing.”
That’s what “worrying” can do to us, it causes us to “decompose”.


Many folks worry about things that never happen.  It is like the patient in the mental hospital, holding his ear close to the wall, listening intently.  The attendant finally approached.  “Sh!” whispered the patient, beckoning him over.  The attendant pressed his ear to the wall for a long time.  “I can’t hear a thing,” he finally said.  “No,” replied the patient, “it’s been like that all day!”

 “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow,” said Corrie Ten Boom; “it empties today of its strength.”

:23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

lifepsuche – breath; life; the soul

meattrophe – food, nourishment

raimentenduma – garment, raiment, cloak, an outer garment


God wants more for you.

God wants us to learn to enjoy much more than just food and clothing.
(Luke 10:38-42 KJV) Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. {39} And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. {40} But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. {41} And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful (same word as used in Luke 12:22, “take no thought”) and troubled about many things: {42} But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

What was the more important thing that Martha was missing out on? She was missing out on JESUS!!!

:24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

consider katanoeo – to perceive, remark, observe, understand; to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon

ravens korax – a raven; includes the whole family of crows.

sowspeiro – to sow, scatter, seed

reaptherizo – to reap, harvest

storehousetameion – a storage chamber, storeroom

barn apotheke – a place in which anything is laid by or up; a storehouse, granary

Keep in mind that Jesus has just told the story about the man who had a great harvest and decided to build bigger barns (Luke 12:18).

feedethtrepho – to nourish, support; feed

ye better thandiaphero – to bear or carry through any place; to carry different ways; to differ, to test, prove, the good things that differ,; to distinguish between good and evil, lawful and unlawful, to approve of things that excel, to differ from one; to excel, surpass one

fowlspeteinon – flying, winged; flying or winged animals, birds; the birds of the heaven, i.e. flying in the heaven (air)

You are more important than a crow to God. If God feeds the crows, He’ll take care of you.

:25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

taking thought merimna – care, anxiety

candunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

addprostithemi – to put to; to add

staturehelikia – age, time of life; stature, i.e in height and comeliness of stature; this could either refer to the length of a person’s life, or their height.

cubitpechus – a cubit; a measure of length equal to distance from the joint of the elbow to the tip of the middle finger (i.e. about 18 inches, (.5 m) but its precise length varied and is disputed)

If you are a little shorter than you’d like to be, can you sit and worry about it and cause yourself to start growing? Not a chance.

:26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

that thing which is leastelachistos – smallest least; in size; in amount: of management of affairs; in importance: what is the least moment

able to dodunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

the restloipos – remaining, the rest

take ye thought merimnao – to be anxious; to be troubled with cares; to care for, look out for (a thing); to seek to promote one’s interests; caring or providing for

If you are unable to cause yourself to grow any taller, how do you think you can control the rest of your life?

In reality, though there are things we can do to work and bring in income, there are things in our lives that are way beyond our control. Even the person with a secure job can find themselves on unemployment with the snap of a finger. All kinds of things can come along and wipe out your savings account.

:27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

considerkatanoeo – to perceive, remark, observe, understand; to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon

lilieskrinon – a flower, the lily

they growauxano – to cause to grow, augment; to increase, become greater; to grow, increase

toil kopiao – to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief); to labour with wearisome effort, to toil; of bodily labour

spin netho – to spin

Jesus is talking about taking wool and spinning it into thread, which would be used for clothing.

arrayedperiballo – to throw around, to put around; of garments, to clothe one

You can’t beat the beauty of a flower. God did a great job with flowers!

:28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

ovenklibanos – a clibanus, a earthen vessel for baking bread; a furnace, oven

will he clotheamphiennumi – to put on, to clothe

of little faitholigopistos – of little faith, trusting too little

You are more valuable than grass, even when you have “little faith”.

:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

seek zeteo – to seek in order to find; to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after; to crave, demand something from someone

This is a pretty strong word. What are you “seeking” after in your life? What are your life’s ambitions?

be ye of doubtful mind meteorizo – to rise up on high; to put a ship [out to sea] up upon the deep; by a metaphor taken from ships that are tossed about on the deep by winds and waves; to cause one to waver or fluctuate in the mind; to agitate or harass with cares; to make anxious

:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

worldkosmos – an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government; the world, the universe; the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ; world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

seekepizeteo – to enquire for, seek for, search for, seek diligently; to wish for, crave; to demand, clamour for

knowetheido – to see; to perceive with the eyes; to know; to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive

ye have needchrezo – to have need of, to be in want of


Don’t seek for “stuff”

1.      The world is doing it.

Jesus has been addressing His disciples because He doesn’t want them to be like the world.
Be careful about letting the “world” become your model for how you do your business or how you provide for your family.
In the world, people do anything to get ahead. In the world, people don’t hesitate to cheat or steal from others.
Jesus doesn’t want you to do things like the world does.

2. God knows what you need.

I don’t have to seek for “stuff”, I seek for God. He knows what I need.
It this is so, why do I go through hard times, why do I sometimes feel like I have such a great need?
It’s not because God somehow forgot about you or lost your address.
a. Sometimes God simply wants you to learn to ask Him for your needs.

(Mat 7:7-11 KJV) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: {8} For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. {9} Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? {10} Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? {11} If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Sometimes God is wanting you to learn to trust Him more by learning to ask from Him.

James says that we “have not” because we “ask not” (James 4:2).

b.  Sometimes God is going to test you and refine you through your trials.

(James 1:2-4 NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. {3} For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. {4} So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

I may be asking, but if God isn’t supplying then perhaps He is trying to stretch me.

:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

seek zeteo – to seek in order to find; to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after; to crave, demand something from someone

shall be addedprostithemi – to put to; to add. Same word that was used in verse 25, to “add to his stature …”


We still work

A young man gets engaged to a young woman and goes to meet her parents over dinner. After dinner the father takes the young man into the drawing room to find out his plans for life with his daughter. “So, what are your plans?” The father asks the fiancée. “I am a Biblical Scholar” he replies “A Biblical Scholar. Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice home for my daughter to live in, as she deserves?” The father asks. “I will study” the young man replies “...God will provide for us.” “And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” The father asks. “I will concentrate on my studies, God will provide for us.” the young man replies. “And children” the father asks “how will you support your children?” “Don’t worry sir” the young man replies “God will provide.” The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father asks a question the young man insists that God will provide. Later, the mother asks about the discussion, “So, how did it go?” The father replies “He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I’m God.”
This doesn’t mean that persons don’t need to work to support themselves. I’ve had people quote this to me, telling me that they aren’t working because they are expecting God to take care of their needs.
(2 Th 3:6-10 KJV) Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. {7} For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; {8} Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: {9} Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. {10} For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Paul had set the example to the Thessalonians that he never took food from them for nothing, but instead he always paid his own way. He set an example of working hard. He told them that if people wanted to freeload from the church without working, they simply should learn to go a little hungry.
Paul also wrote to the Ephesians:
(Eph 4:28 KJV) Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

In other words, we all ought to be in a place where we are not looking for others to always carry us, but we become the ones who carry others. We’re all going to go through times of need, and it’s okay to receive help when you need it. But the general pattern of our lives ought to be to be helping others.


Take care of God’s things, and He will take care of you.

Instead of having “make money” at the top of your “to do” list, have your list topped with “seek the things of God”.
Is God the one you are “seeking”?  Is He your highest priority?
Think of Mary and Martha.  Are you looking for the “best” thing, spending time with Jesus?  Do you give Jesus quality time, reading His Word and praying, or do you give Him just the “leftovers”, if you have time left at the end of the day?
Are you concerned about the same things that God is concerned about?
God is concerned about the lost.  God is concerned about where people will spend eternity.  Do these things concern you?
As we are seeking God’s things, we will still have times when our needs and “worries” creep into our lives. What do we do then?
(Phil 4:6-7 KJV) Be careful (“anxious”) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. {7} And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.