Wednesday, August 7, 2013
"Aha" moments in Scripture reading
My husband and I use Portals of Prayer for our daily devotions each morning. Each devotion has a Scripture passage, a short message, and a prayer--it's been a great way for us to get into the habit of being in the Word every day. (If you're looking for an easy reminder to be in the Word daily, I also recommend subscribing to Lutheran Hour Ministries' devotions, delivered via email.)
The other day the passage was from Luke 12, verses 13-21: The parable of the "Rich Fool." Summed up, this is a story Jesus told about a young man who had earned a lot of money, had a big crop, and a lot of wealth stored up, so he decided to take life easy and enjoy what he had. The story continues, however, "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
Right after this story is the "Do Not Worry" passage. Verse 22 read, "Then Jesus said to his disciples: 'Therefore...'"
One thing my mom taught me about Bible reading is that when you come across a "Therefore," see what it's "there for" (haha). In other words, look at the context--what came before the "therefore"?
In my personal Bible reading lately I've been working through some Old Testament books, including Nehemiah and Ecclesiastes. There is value in reading a short passage and doing deep study on it, but I've also discovered the benefit of reading large sections of Scripture at once--several chapters or a whole small book in one sitting (I got through Esther in two days). It's much easier to see the "big picture" when you look at a book as a whole, instead of individual verses. I've often read the "Do Not Worry" passage, especially in Matthew, because it's a reminder I need regularly. But I haven't often looked at it in Luke, and I definitely haven't looked at it much in its context.
Here's what I see these passages saying:
Don't put stock in physical possessions or in the amount of money you have saved up. You might be able to enjoy it now, but what's going to happen when you die? All that will be worthless. (See Ecclesiastes for more on this.)
Physical possessions aren't what you should be spending all your time and thought on. You shouldn't be worrying about those things--food and clothes. They're temporal things, and besides, God knows you need them. Look at how he takes care of animals! They're never without food, protection, and shelter. If God takes care of animals that way, you can trust that he'll provide for your needs, too.
No, it's the unbelievers who spend their lives worrying about their physical needs and stocking up possessions, because they don't have any purpose beyond this life. But you know that eternity in heaven is waiting for you--so spend your life focusing on that. Seek spiritual treasures, those things that you can't lose, and God will provide physical blessings to you as well.
He has given you the ultimate gifts--salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life. Don't worry about anything else.
What I find awesome is that this whole section-- twenty-one verses--is all connected and flows together logically. (Duh. It was written by God.) I really hope I'm not the first one to take so long to notice this.
Reading this whole passage together was so encouraging for me. What "aha" moments have you had in your Scripture reading lately?
Linking today with Upward Not Inward, Deep Roots at Home, Raising Homemakers, Exceptionalistic, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home