“More on Materialism” (Luke 12:22-31)

Marven Baldo
8 min readMay 15, 2022

Jesus gave His disciples a few pointers on how to deal with the material aspect of life. He gave two illustrations, and He assured them that God is in control.

He said to His disciples, “Therefore, I tell you: Don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens: They don’t sow; they don’t reap; they have no warehouse or barn; and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height? If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: They don’t toil; neither do they spin; yet I tell you: Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field which today exists and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink. Neither be anxious. For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you (Luke 12:22-31).

Jesus gave His disciples a few pointers on how to deal with the material aspect of life. He gave two illustrations, and He assured them that God is in control.

Here are some of His commandments:

He said to His disciples, “Therefore, I tell you: Don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear (22).

This may be a difficult commandment to obey because we usually see life in terms of what is visible. We feel secure only when we see that everything we need is present and within our reach; but we worry when they are not.

But if we have God in our lives and we trust Him, we stand steadfast in the belief that He will somehow miraculously provide for our needs so that we can survive and even thrive. Worrying, therefore, becomes a superfluous exercise of emotion and may sometimes lead to sin. We can just stay put and leave everything to God.

Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink (29a).

If we are only doing what we are supposed to do, which is to work, we don’t have to pursue material things but they will just come as the fruit of our labor. If we work, we earn money. If we have money, we can buy food and other necessities. We won’t be in want if we are not lazy. Laziness is a sure way to poverty.

But if, despite having been sustained and even gratified by the fruit of our labor, we still desire for more material things although we already have enough, then there is something wrong: We are developing a materialistic attitude. Of course, it’s not bad to aspire to be rich and grow money, but we should guard our hearts lest we develop an insatiable desire for more and more money, which is the root of all evil.

We should just live within our means. If what we want in life is not commensurate to the amount of money that we make, then we shouldn’t seek after it. It is not for us.

We can just live one day at a time, be at ease and contented, resting in God’s provision but at the same time working very hard to earn our keep. The pursuit of our life should be toward God, not material things.

As God’s children, our Father in heaven will not leave us hungry and naked. He will give us what we need in order to survive. At times, He might give us things that we don’t exactly need but just want in order to fill our hearts with joy and allow us to see the beauty of life. Occasionally, He might even bless us with things we didn’t even ask for. Nothing is impossible to God. He is in charge of everything. Therefore, we need not worry.

Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height? If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest? (25–26)

I don’t know if some people already have it; but so far, I haven’t seen anyone with telekinetic powers. We may feel that we lack certain details in life that we see in others, but pining for them won’t help. If God has something in His mind to give to us, He will do so in the time and manner that He sees fit.

But seek God’s kingdom (31a).

For God to have overall rule in our lives and to be His instrument in promoting His kingdom on earth is where we should devote our time, strength, and talents to rather than to our actual needs. Can you believe that? That may sound like a contradiction, but it might just work.

But as we do so, we don’t detach ourselves from reality. We simply put on a heavenly mindset instead of a worldly one. We simply prioritize the more-important thing. It’s just up to God to provide for everything we may ever need or want in life.

Let’s proceed to the illustrations:

Consider the ravens: They don’t sow; they don’t reap; they have no warehouse or barn; and God feeds them (24a).

We humans work to earn money and save some of it for future unforeseen needs; but ravens don’t do any of that, yet they continue to be ravens in the way they feed, up to the present day.

It doesn’t mean that we stop working and just sit pretty or lie down all day and wait for good fortune to come. It means that if they who have total disregard for how they will find food still get fed by God, how much more us human beings who trust God.

Consider the lilies, how they grow: They don’t toil; neither do they spin; yet I tell you: Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field which today exists and tomorrow is cast into the oven… (27–28a)

I remember as a child seeing a bunch of water lilies floating in the river and being carried by the waves until it disappears from view and be replaced by another one.

Lilies are basically grass. They grow wild. Yet they grow beautifully and produce peaceful-looking flowers.

How much more will we fare beautifully under God’s providential care. As His own, He will take care of our minutest details. He will mold us to perfection. He will provide us with the right clothes not only to keep our feeble forms from the heat of the day and the cold of the night but also to adorn our otherwise plain and bland appearance. He will clothe us in a way that will effectively bring out the beautiful in us and offset the humiliation of our nakedness.

It is time for us to quit worrying. Let us keep in mind the following spiritual truths:

But your Father knows that you need these things (30b).

As our Creator, God knows us better than we do ourselves. He knows what we truly need, though we may not realize it, and He will provide. He also knows that some things that we wish for would not be for good us; and therefore, He keeps us away from those. He knows the perfect details that He will add to our person so that what is good in us will stand out. Apart from Him, we would be mediocre, clueless, homeless, and liable to destroy ourselves. If we let God take care of us, He can turn us into something smart and beautiful. He will give us a clear understanding of life so that we won’t stray from the right path.

For the nations of the world seek after all of these things (30a).

People who haven’t put their faith in God are constantly in the business of pursuing material things that they think will make them happy. As mentioned above, that’s not our business. Our business is the kingdom of God. We don’t have to do those things because we have God.

And all these things will be added to you (31b).

God is almighty. He is the Creator of all things. It won’t be a difficult thing for Him to just give us at a snap of a finger the things that unbelievers devote their time and effort to. They actively seek after those things, but we don’t because God is our Provider. What we devote every ounce of our energy and intellect to is in doing the will of God in our lives, and we don’t allow our minds to be burdened by anything else. Every good thing that will give us total happiness comes from our God. Therefore, we set our eyes, minds, and hearts on Him.

How much more valuable are you than birds! (24b) How much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! (28b)

We are better and more valuable than the illustrations we discussed above. They’re just plants and animals. We are humans especially if we are good ones and children of God. The ravens and the lilies get what they want without any effort on their part. They don’t work for it; they just get it. How much more will we be filled to overflowing if we depend on God and at the same time work hard to earn our keep.

Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing (23).

Our persons are more important than the details we add to it.

Whenever we feel that we lack certain things in life that we think are important, we remind ourselves that the most-important thing of all still remains in us: our very lives. We still have a body that is still whole, healthy, and functional. We can still move about and think rationally.

As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as we are still alive, functioning, and in the right mind, something good may still come out of our troubles.

I know that sounds like a cliché. It’s because it is. That’s exactly what it is. A cliché. Nevertheless, we leave everything to God and focus on Him and on how we can always be right with Him and pleasing in His sight. Life is beautiful because we live it for God.

Passage by Passage: Luke 12 series, episode 5

by: Marven T. Baldo

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Marven Baldo

Teaching the Word of God is my passion and calling.