Side Note: I’ve made a decision regarding writing style for the stuff I put into this blog. I’m going to stop trying to find different ways to say, “Today I learned…” The whole blog is devoted to what it is that I’m learning. If I write something here, it is because I am learning it. That’s the point. Therefore, it is unnecessary for me to say, “Today I am learning…” In their classic book about writing, Elements of Style, Strunk and White say, “Use no unnecessary words.”
This morning I was revisiting Luke 12:22-34 where Jesus tells his followers not to worry about having enough food or clothes. He assures them that their father in heaven will provide for them all that they need. “Consider the birds…”
I was a young man of about 19 years old when I first read this. I was stunned to think that God wanted to provide for my physical needs. I had been brought up to believe with all my being that it was my responsibility and mine alone to provide these things for myself.
I think that a lot of our social problems stem from people worrying about money. The people who don’t have enough worry about how to get what they need. The people who have it worry that the people who don’t will somehow take it away from them.
In those early years, I went through a period of time where I was a little careless in terms of my concern about money. I’m sure it drove my parents crazy as they imagined me becoming a bum or a welfare client. I guess they thought that I was thinking that I didn’t have to do anything; that God would do it all. That wasn’t it, and that isn’t what this promise is all about. It just says, “Do not worry.”
Later, married, with children, and a responsible job, there were many years when our income just didn’t measure up to our needs and responsibilities. Without going into a lot of detail, let me just say that I know what it is like to have to “balance” the bills. Balance meaning figuring out who is going to have to wait to get their money this month. I learned that this promise from Luke 12 is one that you have to hold onto by faith.
Now, as I am just a few years away from retirement age, I find myself looking at the promise of Luke 12 in a new way once again. It would be very easy to worry about our need for money in our later years. Are the politicians going to figure out how to make social security solvent? Is inflation going to erode the value of whatever income we do have? Is the cost of health insurance going to put us in the poor house? There are a lot of reasons to worry. But Luke 12 tells me otherwise.