“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” ― C. H. Spurgeon
I wonder how many of us wake in the middle of the night and fret over something. It maybe something we haven’t done or should have done. If only I’d do that then all would be okay.
Our society sets out to create anxiety – advertising works on the idea of you needing something to make your life more complete – a new car, clothing or latest technology. You must have this to be fulfilled. Advertising sets out to get us to want things we have perhaps never considered.
Its often more subtle than we realise – products placed in films and photos get us to aspire to something more as though that will make all ok – we must somehow be anxious about the future – and when we acquire those things that are presented that is not then end – there is always more.
This desire for more is not something that is new today, it is just perhaps that those who sell us the dissatisfaction with today have developed new ways.
The parable from Luke 12 addresses some of this condition. The question asked of Jesus by the brother is only found in Luke’s gospel – he asks Jesus to adjudicate – perhaps a bit like Solomon in the Old Testament was often asked. But Jesus responds in a way that is typical of His ministry. He takes the question and uses it to explore the nature of our character
“Teacher tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” – “Watch out, be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” - Jesus response whilst not directly answering the man’s request goes to the heart of the issue
It is worth noting that in the gospels Jesus says more about money than he does about prayer! How much do we involved our money in our worship?
He then launches into the parable about the rich man who produced a good crop – there is nothing in this story that speaks of the man oppressing his workers or cheating his counterparts – this is a man who has succeeded – some would say that he has been “blessed” and the abundance is evidence of this – God must be pleased with him because look at how well he has done. Here is a man who is doing well!
Yet note that the man when faced with a dilemma does not chat to others – he thinks to himself – his wealth had perhaps pushed him away from others – only taking his own counsel – so self-contained – so self-focussed – Jesus portrays a successful man in the worlds eyes, who is isolated from those he is alongside. Does our wealth push us away from others?
The man’s response is for more planning – and when everything is just so then all will be well – he can then enjoy his wealth. This is the lie that is still sold to us today – when everything is just right you can then enjoy what you have been given – but you just need this or that before – and there is always more this or that.
Augustine is famous for saying “My soul is restless until it rests in thee. This rich man’s view is “My soul is restless until I am assured of an overabundance of food and drink”
Jesus states that the man is an example of one who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God.
Where do we find our rest and comfort? What does it look like? Will we focus on God when all is sorted, and everything is as we want it? Jesus calls us to be generous today and focus on God. To trust Him.
That’s not the same as not making wise choices – but it is all about where we put our confidence and trust.
“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”
― C. H. Spurgeon
Cast your burdens onto Jesus and find strength in Him.