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Luke 12:22-31

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 8, 2016


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

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Luke was a doctor and a traveling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing this book about Jesus, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.

Jesus has been addressing the crowd and warning them about the dangers of greed or “covetousness”.

(Luke 12:15 NLT) Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

12:22-31 Worries and Priorities

:22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.

:22 He said to His disciples

When the writers of Scripture make a point of telling us that what is being said is being addressed to a specific group, it’s helpful to pay attention because this will affect how we deal with the passage.

Last week, there was a man from the crowd who had asked Jesus to settle a family inheritance issue, and Jesus turned and taught this same crowd about covetousness.

Now 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.

This section (Luke 12:22-31) is also found in the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 6:25-33).

:22 what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on

These are the things that we can worry about.

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

The people of Jesus’ day had a difficult life.

This was a time when most people had to work hard just to make sure they had something to eat that day.
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 Kohl’s and worrying about which outfit to buy.

Even today, we worry about the same kinds of things, but for different reasons.

When it comes to food…
My cardiologist helps me worry about my salt intake, how much caffeine I’m consuming, and avoiding red meat.
Even the clothes we wear can cause us anxiety.
It’s a couple of days before a big wedding.  The Bride comes up with some bad news for her mother:  she’s found out that the young Step-Mother of the Groom has bought the exact same dress to wear to the Wedding that she (the mother of the Bride) is planning to wear. The Bride’s Mother tells her not to worry because she will just go and buy another dress to wear to the ceremony. “But mother,” asks the Bride, “What will you do with the dress that you’ve already bought?” “Well,” says mom, “I’ll just wear it to the rehearsal dinner.”

:22 do not worry about your life

lifepsuche – breath; life; the soul

worrymerimnao – to be anxious; to be troubled with cares

It comes from the word merizo, meaning “to divide”, 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.”


Stressed out

According to WebMD, there are more than a few consequences of having long term stress in your life including:
Mental health problems
Cardiovascular disease
Skin and hair problems
Gastrointestinal problems
Sometimes the things that stress us out are serious, real situations we find ourselves in.  Sometimes we just worry about things that will 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!”
Stress and worry work against your body…
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”.
Corrie Ten Boom wrote,
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Here are a few things we can do to lower our stress.
Video:  WebMD – 3 ways to cut stress
As believers, we have something available to us that’s even better when it comes to dealing with our anxiety.


Paul wrote to the Philippians:
(Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV) —6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

One of the things that drives our anxieties is fear.

In God’s eyes, the opposite of fear is trust, which is what happens when we pray.

God wants us to learn to trust Him with the things that are causing our anxiety.

Trusting Him starts by putting the issue into His hands and learning to let go of it, trusting that God will answer your prayer.

That doesn’t mean we won’t play a part in solving a problem, but it means that we start by putting it in God’s hand.


Suppose you have an incredibly difficult situation at work or at school that has been thrown into your lap.

Let’s suppose that you decide to go to your boss or your teacher for help, and they say, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take it from here.”

How would that make you feel?

Let God take it from here.

:23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.

:23 Life is more than food

foodtrophe – food, nourishment

Last week we saw how Jesus challenged the crowd:

(Luke 12:15 NLT) Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
In Luke 12:15, the word for “life” was zoe, which is something bigger and deeper than simple biological life (bios).
Zoe is the word used to describe “eternal life”.

Here, the word for life is:

lifepsuche – breath; life; the soul
We could translate it “soul” or the “inner you”.

Back in 12:15, Jesus said that your “life” was more than your “stuff”. Here it’s that your life is more than “food”

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Actually, what Jesus is saying is that you are MORE than what you eat.

In Jesus’ day, it was thought that eating the wrong things could damage your soul.

But Jesus taught…
(Mark 7:15 NLT) It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”

:23 the body is more than clothing

clothingenduma – garment, raiment, cloak, an outer garment

If you end up wearing the same outfit as someone else, it’s not the end of the world.

:24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?

:24 Consider the ravens

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.

Ravens were considered “unclean” birds. (Lev. 11:15)
(Leviticus 11:15 NKJV) every raven after its kind,
And yet God feeds even them.

sowspeiro – to sow, scatter, seed

reaptherizo – to reap, harvest

:24 which have neither storehouse nor barn

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).

The ravens don’t have those kinds of thing.

:24 and God feeds them

feedstrepho – to nourish, support; feed

Even without intense planning and worry.

:24 Of how much more value are you than the birds?

valuediaphero – to bear or carry through any place; to differ, to test, prove, the good things that differ

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

God takes care of crows and 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 by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

worrying merimna – care, anxiety

:25 can add one cubit to his stature

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)

Some of the translations turn this phrase into talking about age instead of height.

(Luke 12:25 ESV) And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
The Scripture does talk about the length of our days being similar to measurements in length:
(Psalm 39:5 NKJV) Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah
The rich man’s worrying about his crops and barns didn’t lengthen his life in the least.

I tend to think the height thing is a better idea.

The word for “cubit” is a measurement of about 18 inches, and so it’s probably best to translate this as adding a “cubit to your height”.

There are some folks who are quite unhappy with their height and they wish they were taller.

There are ways around this.
Video:  Shoe Inserts

A “cubit” is equivalent to about 18 inches. 

It’s not a bad thing to buy a shoe insert and add an inch or two, but who can make themselves 18 inches taller just by worrying?

:26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?

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

anxious 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

:26 not able to do the least

leastelachistos – smallest, least

Superlative of elachus (short)
It’s not “short”, or “shorter”, but “shortest”
Literally, “If you then are not able to do the “shortest”…

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

:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow

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

First Jesus asked us to “consider” the ravens.  Now we are to “consider” the lilies.

lilieskrinon – a flower, the lily

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

Jesus has been talking about getting taller, and now He talks about the lilies getting taller…

:27 they neither toil nor spin

toil kopiao – to grow weary; to labor with wearisome effort

spin netho – to spin

You don’t see lilies working very hard.

You don’t see them “spinning”, as in taking wool and spinning it into thread, which would be used for their clothing.


Hard Work

Over the years I’ve seen people misuse these principles of Jesus.
Does this mean we shouldn’t “toil” or “spin”?
Not at all.
There was a problem in the Thessalonian church.
There were some people who had decided that they didn’t need to work, but they would just live off of help from the church.
Paul wrote,
(2 Thessalonians 3:6–15 NKJV) —6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,

The word Paul uses for “labor” is the same word Jesus used for “toil”.

Paul set an example by taking care of his own expenses through hard work.

9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Hard work is a good thing.  What Jesus is concerned is our “worry”.

:27 Solomon in all his glory

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

Solomon was one of the most impressive people that ever lived.

When the Queen of Sheba met Solomon for the first time, she was blown away with how awesome everything was that surrounded him (1Ki. 10:4-7)
(1 Kings 10:4–7 NKJV) —4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her. 6 Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. 7 However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard.

Yet when it all comes down to it, you can’t beat the beauty of a flower.

God did a great job with flowers!

:28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

grasschortos – grass, herbage, hay, provender

fieldagros – the field

todaysemeron – this (very) day)

tomorrowaurion – tomorrow

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

thrownballo – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls

so clothesamphiennumi – to put on, to clothe

:28 will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

of little faitholigopistos – of little faith, trusting too little

Sometimes we get to thinking that God isn’t going to work in our lives unless we have “great faith”.

Yet here Jesus promises that God will take care of us even when we have “little faith”.

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

:29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious 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?

have an anxious 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

(James 1:6 NKJV) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

:30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.

:30 the nations of the world seek after

nationsethnos – a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together; a tribe, nation, people group

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, clamor for

I wonder if Jesus isn’t drawing a contrast here between His disciples and the “crowd” that has been growing around Him.

I wonder if this also isn’t a little bit of a dig at the fellow we talked about last week – the fellow from the crowd who demanded that Jesus divide his family’s inheritance with he and his brother. (Luke 12:13)

(Luke 12:13 NKJV) —13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

When your life is consumed with worrying over these things, you are acting like an unbeliever.

:30 your Father knows that you need these things

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

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

We worry as if God is unaware of what we need.

We often pray this way as well, as if we are informing God about our needs, as if He doesn’t know.

:31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to 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 …”

:31 seek the kingdom of God

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said it just a little differently:

(Matthew 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.



A great discussion starter for small groups is to ask each person the question, “If your house was burning, what would you grab on your way out the door?”
In 2011 photographer Foster Huntington launched a website asking people to post pictures of the items they would take.
Here are some of the pictures people posted:

Sherlock’s hat, photo album, and sketchbook.

Gun, computer, phone, wallet, camera, and puppy

Electric guitar, skateboard, cell phone, unfinished book, camera, flower cap, grandpa’s glasses.

It’s one thing to think about what “stuff” is important to you, but think a little deeper with me.
Long before there was GPS, ancient mariners used to navigate the seas at night by using the North Star as their primary point of reference.
All through the night, while the other stars and planets travel across the sky the same way that the sun does in the daytime, the North Star stays fixed.  It is always in the same spot, all through the night.
You can always know where “North” is if you know how to locate Polaris in the constellation Ursa Minor.
What is the “north star” that helps you navigate life?
What are the values that play into how you make your decisions in life?

Is it your safety?

Is it your finances?

Is it doing things so people will like you?

Is it an addiction?

Is it your family?

Is it your friendships?

Jesus wants to become the “north star” of your life.
He wants you to make “seeking His kingdom” the first priority in your life.
He wants you to be thinking beyond what happens in this life and wants you thinking about the next (heaven).
He wants you to be more concerned about what kind of shape you’ll be in when you arrive in heaven as opposed to what kind of shape you’ll be in when you retire.
You will get to the right destination as long as you keep track of that North Star.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not wrong to have concerns in your life over food, clothing, or money.
But when you put God first, the rest falls into place.