“Can any of you, however much you worry, add a single cubit to your span of life? If a very small thing is beyond your powers, why worry about the rest? Think how the flowers grow; they never have to spin or weave; yet, I assure you, not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of them.” (Luke 12:25-27)
These words are attributed to Jesus in Luke’s gospel; written to a gentile audience which wondered if it were included in the truth and teaching of Jesus, who was a Jew. Luke always takes a special view to the underdog and those who are left out of power structures.
Jesus says these words in the midst of a very long teaching in which he tells the parable of a man who had a huge harvest. His solution was to tear down his current barns and build even bigger ones so that he could have nothing but leisure, and worry for nothing. That evening, the man died. Now, what was that huge storehouse good for?
It’s a “kick me in the stomach” kind of teaching. It has been used at times, unfortunately, to extort church members into giving more money and to keep the poor poor by convincing them that wealth is only a distraction from the real treasure. It is rather cruel to tell people who suffer for what they lack that having plenty of money is not a good thing. In other words, this teaching is not meant to answer the complex questions of socio-economics and poverty, nor was it meant to be used to coerce people into certain behaviors.
It does ask us what we know we have, within us, right now, that is our inherent abundance. Flowers come with an inherent beauty. What do you inherently come with? That is a storehouse that no one can take from you.
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