as the calendars have all closed their last page and we've all torn the cellophane off of the new ones, the news is full of projections and predictions for the new year. one of the things that goes along with this in today's current climate is fear. so much fear. so much anxiety. about money. about the nation. about the future. check out mr. robertson's "word from the Lord" (and someone please tell me how this is any different than a collective palm-reading):
so there you have it. things are bad already, and things are going to get worse. watch out, because God will continue to divide the good people and the bad people, even depending on what university you go to, or if you prefer the ACLU or the ACLJ (that was hilarious). blah blah blah....
now, compare that to these words from Jesus from Luke 12:22-31
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."
interesting, right? quite the juxtaposition. one seems to be saying, "be very afraid" and the other seems to be saying "don't be afraid." i wonder which one is truth. i wonder which one will truly set us free.
interestingly, Jesus goes on in luke 12 to talk about the future, about how no one can know the date or time of the return of the master, that it will be like a thief in the night, and so we ought not worry about when it will be, but instead we ought to get busy being ready.
the more things change, the more they stay the same. Jesus is addressing a huge group of mostly poor folks here in luke 12, and do you know what he talks about? money, and the future. the same things that mr. robertson is talking about. the same thing that olbermann and o'reilly and beck talk about on their news programs. money and the future. but the major difference is what they are saying. most of those who get paid to "report" use fear as a motivational tool, and as a ratings magnet.
but the One who speaks Truth, dispels fear. listen to what he says in verse 32 of Luke 12:
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.see that? do not be afraid. and why not? because God wants to give you all you need. in fact, more than that, God longs to give you what you need. nothing gives God more pleasure than giving you exactly what you need: the kingdom.
so, as you find your way through the final introductions of the new year, do yourself a favor and turn off the tv for a few minutes. shut off the podcast. put down the newspaper. stop googling and instant messaging and texting and listen for a moment. see if you can hear the voice of life and love trying to comfort you: do not be afraid.