2019 Advent Devo: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…Until it Isn’t

We find ourselves in the thick of Christmas.  Our calendars are full, our to-do lists are long and we are often stressed (isn’t it interesting that “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”?).

The kissing cousin of stress is worry, and this season brings lots of worries.  Will this person like their gift? Will I get the gifts I really want? How will I get everything done?

In Luke 12:22-34, Jesus is addressing his disciples.  He is teaching them a valuable lesson about how their energy can be spent on the things that really matter in life.  He forces us to face some difficult foes. Things that keep us seeking Him foremost.

The first foe Jesus mentions is worry (Luke 12:22, 19).  Worry is like a rocking chair, you do some travelling—but you don’t go anywhere.  He says that we fret over things that aren’t our responsibility, because it is God’s responsibility, as our sustainer, to make sure we are clothed and fed (12:28).  We also worry over things that are beyond our control (12:25-26). None of us can add a second to our lives, let alone a year. We cannot control the weather, stock market, political climate, time or reactions of people.  So much of our lives are spent out of control.

Here is the core of Jesus’ message-“Seek first the kingdom, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:31). I love what an old gospel preacher once said, “You mind HIS business…He will mind yours.”

Secondly, Jesus draws attention to our fears.  In the text, Jesus uses a term of endearment and affection as he speaks to his followers.  He says, “Don’t be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32).  If we really believe that—is there anything that our Father would withhold from us that we need? John Newton said, “Everything is necessary that God sends our way; nothing can be necessary that he withholds.”

He saves the hardest foe for last—selfishness.  Worry and fear often drive us into the arms of selfishness.  We want to cling hard to everything we possess or have. Once we see that Jesus has us in his grip of grace, we find freedom to loosen our grip on the transient, temporary things of this world.  We live into Jesus command to “Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being” (Luke 12:33).

We are more than what we get this Christmas.  God’s Kingdom always starts in our hearts and spreads outward to the world like ripples in a pond.  To seek first His kingdom is to want the spread of the reign of King Jesus. It is acknowledging Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  As the old Christmas hymn reminds us: “Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.”

You are loved!
Kent Massey