Prosperity! can the raven teach us? Luke 12:13-33

raven

This is fascinating! I never cared to learn about ravens. As a matter of fact, I had a certain fear about them. They are not a bird that you can say, oh how beautiful! This bird has many myths and people for centuries have associated it with many things including reincarnation, souls of wicked priests, bad spirits, messengers, and some have even worshipped them as gods.

As I read the scriptures today where Jesus said for us to consider the ravens, I want to know not how they are viewed by people, but what the bible says about them and what their characteristics are? It was the raven that Noah sent to search for land after the flood and It was the raven God sent to feed the Prophet Elijah when he was escaping a bad king and his wife, who were set on killing him. They are also mentioned in many other scriptures.

The raven is considered one of the smartest animals on this earth. It can live and adapt to different kinds of environment. It can learn to speak if in captivity, can communicate using sign language, can play dead if needs to trick its attacker, can offer support to its peers, enjoys a good ant bath etc. Learn more about it on 10 fascinating facts about the raven by Joy Lanzendorfer on mental floss.

By now you might be thinking, how are you associating the raven with prosperity? Not me, Jesus said consider the raven! Our Scripture reading is from Luke 12:13-33. In this passage, someone is seeking  Jesus for help to get his inheritance. It sounds fair to me! Perhaps he is saying, my brother took possession of all that belonged to our family and it is my right to get half of it! Jesus, help me get what is mine!

We are not told if it was rightfully his or not. I am assuming it was, for it belonged to his family. I am sure Jesus knew, but he was unmoved! He did not say to the man,  “Man, you should have what is yours, just claim it!” First of all, Jesus was annoyed. He told the man, who put me in charge of your affairs? I am not your judge. What? Jesus not his judge? The picture Jesus is more interested in is greater than earthly treasures and earthly glory. He is the judge over that.

He found in this request a teaching moment to convey that bigger picture  to us. He said a word we need to pay attention to when spoken by Him.  “Beware! be on your guard against every form of greed” Let us unpack this sentence. Not only did He say beware but be fully armed and fight against this evil. For He said: “not even when one has an abundance does his life consists of his possessions”

Let us unpack that second sentence. The fact that someone has an abundance is not the root of the evil, it is what their life consists of. He is saying, you have because it has been given to you and it has a purpose while on your hands to be used accordingly for the kingdom. Your life should not revolve around your possessions but the other way around. Your possessions should revolve around a life that honors God!

He then told them a parable. He said, “The land of a rich man was very productive and he began reasoning to himself saying:  “What shall I do since I have no place to store my crops?” On today’s terms:  “I have so much, I need to find ways to keep my stuff”  “I need a bigger house to store it” “where shall I invest all this money so that it will earn more for my future?”

“I need a certain amount of money on my retirement account, so that I can live comfortable the rest of my years!”  ” I will  travel the world, play golf, have all the goods I desire so that I will just enjoy the return of my investments!”   Jesus said that after the man had it all planned out, God said to him  “You fool! this very night, your soul is required of you; and now, who will own what you have prepared?”

Jesus finished this by saying:  “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” As a nurse and having been on the field for a long time, I can tell you that death has no discrimination. Rich or poor, gender, race, age, class, religion, culture etc. When it is time to go, you can’t buy extended earth time. You can ask for it! There is at least one example in the bible of someone who asked for extended time and got it. It was a king named Hezekiah.

Jesus said  “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat, not for your body as to what you will put on. For life is more that food, and the body more than clothing?  Our lives belong to God and their purpose is greater than a good meal and a beautiful attire. There is much more depth than that! The bible says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, God’s instruments to reach God’s people! The people Jesus came to rescue!

When our focus is misguided, not only a rich person can be missing on God’s freedom by being caught up in material possessions, but anybody who’se main focus is on their self-image, self fulfillment with food, entertainment, wellbeing or comfort, and anxieties and fears about not having these things or facing the uncertain future.

Think about this He said: “If you worry, do you suppose it will add a single hour to your life span? Psalm 139:16 says: Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was none of them. Meaning, before I was even conceived you have known me and the plan for my days on this earth have been set in your book. According to these two passages, we can alter how we spend our time on this earth but we can’t alter the amount of days we live on it.

To make a point in explaining the lack of meaning of these desired things, the time wasted on searching for them, and the unprofitable effort on building earthly treasures, Jesus tell us to consider looking at two types of creation that can teach us a thing or two about God’s provisions. The raven and the Lilies! He said:  “consider the raven!  they neither sow nor reap; they have no store-room, nor barn and yet God feeds them! How much more valuable you are than the birds!”

As we study the raven, we learn that all it needs is within itself as God has equipped it. No it doesn’t sit around and expect to be provided for, but it uses God’s given abilities as it fulfills it’s purpose. God commands it to do its part on this earth and it does it, just like other creatures do. Just as the raven has been equipped because God values it! God values us much more than the birds! we have been equipped with much, much more!

Don’t spend so much time worrying about your clothing! Considered the Lilies! Have you seen their vibrant colors and beauty! They don’t have to do anything to emanate such! God provides it! Not even king Solomon with all his riches and glory could dress himself like one of these. If God clothes them and the grass of the field, being that they are here for only a short time,  don’t you think He will clothe you as well? He values you much more! Man of little faith! I feel He is sighing here and thinking, ” I wish you could see how worthy you are!”

He had already warned us about seeking wealth, food and clothing before. It appears repetitious, but I believe than on the previous verse He was focusing not on the need itself but on the gluttony of it as self fulfillment. on Verse 29, He was repeating the command as if He was talking about it for the first time.  “And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.” I think He was saying, I know you don’t have these things and you are worrying about them.

He said, while the world is entrapped on seeking these things, know that your Father already knows your needs. When your focus is on serving Him and fulfilling  your purpose on this earth, He will provide. Verse 12:31 is the key verse and Jesus’s main focus for us  “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

He told us why we need to remain focus on God’s Kingdom. He said, Dear ones. Do not fear! Have faith! What is coming for you is much greater than anything you can imagine! For your Father has chosen to reward you! He has gladly chosen to give you The Kingdom!

In Luke 12:33-34,  I believe He is saying, You know what? if your heart is in something other than God, get rid of it! if in your money, you don’t need it!. Give it to charity!  it is more important for you to build treasures in Heaven where you are going to spend eternity and can enjoy it forever. Why spent it on earth where anything can happen. It will be stolen, destroyed or distributed to others who will own what you worked for. Anything that keeps your focus away from God, that is where your treasure is!

That treasure we seek that is not God’s will for us is coveting. The name of the Scripture is Covetousness denounced! The tenth commandment is: Thou shall not covet! When we think about coveting, we generally associate it with desiring someone else’s possessions. I believe that Jesus is saying that when we are seeking to fulfill a void that has not been first filled with God, and are not content with His provisions, we are coveting.

That covetousness can be manifested in the pursue of money, beauty, food, or anything else we think will make us happy. This focus causes us unneeded and destructive anxiety. Jesus says stay away from it! to prosper in this life, all we need is to seek His kingdom, and all these things will be added to us.

 

 

 

 

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