Morning Bible Study
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”.
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
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
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.
:22 what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on
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
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
worry – merimnao – 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 WebMD, there are more than a few consequences of having long term stress
in your life including:
Mental health problems
Skin and hair 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…
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
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
Here are a few things we can do to lower our 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:
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
Back in 12:15, Jesus said that your “life” was more than your “stuff”. Here
it’s that your life is more than “food”
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
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
:23 the body is more than clothing
If you end up wearing the same outfit as someone else, it’s not the end of
: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
:24 Consider the ravens
ravens – korax – a raven; includes the whole
family of crows.
Ravens were considered “unclean” birds. (Lev. 11:15)
And yet God feeds even them.
:24 which have neither storehouse nor barn
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 Of how much more value are you than the birds?
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?
:25 can add one cubit to his stature
There are some folks who are quite unhappy with their height and they wish
they were taller.
There are ways around this.
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?
:26 not able to do the least
least – elachistos –
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
First Jesus asked us to “consider” the ravens. Now we are to “consider” the lilies.
they grow – auxano – 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
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.
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.
(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
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
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
Hard work is a good thing. What
Jesus is concerned is our “worry”.
:27 Solomon in all his glory
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)
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?
:28 will He clothe you, O you of little faith?
of little faith – oligopistos –
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
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.
: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
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)
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
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
:31 seek the kingdom of God
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
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 will get to the right destination as long as you keep track of that
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.