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Rhythms: Luke 12:22-31

The Problem: A Mismanaged Life
John Witte

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If you cannot do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.—Luke 12:22-31 (ESV)

Today we begin a 5-week series called “Rhythms.” Our goal is to ask how being a Jesus Follower helps us bring order to the chaos of our lives. We’ll begin today by identifying the problem that makes life chaotic, and next week we will propose the solution. In weeks 3-5, we will apply the key to the areas of finances, family, and work. We aim to help you manage life from the perspective of a Jesus Follower because, as we said a few weeks ago, we believe following Jesus will make your life better. After all, it’ll make you better at life.

No matter how hard we try to simplify, modern life is complicated, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

WATCH—This clip from today’s message: 
In the message, John Witte discussed the limited nature of our available time, energy, and resources.

QUESTION—Which one of these is the biggest problem? What challenges do you regularly face, and how do you prioritize? Do you ever feel like you are wasting your time, your energy, or your resources? How so?

QUESTION—What brings your life the most fulfillment and a sense of purpose? How much of your time, energy, and resources are focused on that? How do you generate the most meaningful life with your limited resources?

This is the problem that every person is trying to solve, whether you would say it this way or not. To the degree that you manage your time, energy, and resources well, your life will likely be rhythm and order. If you do it less well, there will likely be chaos and anxiety.

Most people organize their lives around categories, including work, family, relationships, finances, recreation, and church or some other organization to which they belong.

QUESTION—Which category gets the most of you? Are you happy about that? Explain your answer.

None of us have unlimited resources, so we need an organizing principle that helps us set limits on the demands, desires, and expectations we face. Something must go. Something must give. Some things must receive a lower priority than something else. It’s called scarcity management or decision-making. Either consciously or unconsciously, we all have an organizing principle that helps us prioritize and try to sort things out to create the most fulfilling life.

QUESTION—What is your organizing principle? Is it the primary importance of family, work, church – or perhaps even sports or partying?

QUESTION—Has anything in your life suffered because of your organizing principle? Explain that.

There is good and evil in each category we have discussed but using any of them as an organizing principle will lead to chaos because each is limited.

In our passage today, Jesus describes the problem and provides the answer. In verse 22, he went straight to the symptom of a life that is out of rhythm: Anxiety.

QUESTION—Do you struggle with anxiety? How does that affect the focus of your daily life?

READ—Luke 12:23 and Luke 4:4

In one situation, Jesus is talking about anxiety. In the other, he is resisting temptation.

QUESTION—Is there a relationship between anxiety and temptation? What was Jesus’ solution?

READ—Luke 12:29-31

Jesus reminded us of our worth and pointed us to God, who has unlimited resources.

QUESTION—How would making God your organizing principle change the balance and rhythm of your life?

This summer has been sweltering and dry; the evidence is in the numerous dead trees around us. The extreme heat and lack of rain have taken a toll. In many ways, this is a metaphor for modern life. Stress and worry can parch our lives and drain our limited resources.

READ—Jeremiah 17:7-8

QUESTION—How are trees planted by streams affected by drought? How does the Bible compare that to our lives?

Dig Deeper: Consider the Ravens

QUESTION— Why does Jesus choose ravens as an illustration in Luke 12:24?

Ravens cry for food in Psalm 147:9 and Job 38:41 and are cared for by God, even though they are unclean birds (forbidden as food: see Leviticus 11:15 and Deuteronomy 14:14).

This shows how comprehensive God’s care is. Ravens were of no value, different from the previously mentioned sparrows used as food. The references to sowing and reaping, storeroom, and barn relate to the story of the rich man who died despite possessing everything, while the crows, which lacked such things, live by God’s care. Since God cares for even ravens, he will indeed care for the disciples who are so much more valuable to him.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.—1 Peter 5:6-8

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:4–7
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