So I have often had an issue with how I have heard the parable of the raven preached. Luke 12: 24-25 “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!” - I kept hearing about how God will not let us go hungry or without shelter, basic needs stuff. At least that is what my ears took in. Yet I was acutely aware of the very real suffering and hunger in the world. Now I know that is not God’s will. So up until the other day I would respond defensively to this passage.
While listening to the Daily Audio Bible reading (Luke 12) I finally heard another understanding of this passage. It was revealed to me within the Chapter as a whole. For me, the key was in the passages preceding and following the raven. 12: 16-21First there is a parable about a rich man who had a wealth of a harvest and was storing it up for himself. God renounces this by saying “‘you fool!” pretty harsh. It says that you have all this stuff stored up, but guess what, you will die this very night and what do you think will happen to all of it? This is saying that those of us who are blessed may be focusing on what we are gaining and the amount in our savings accounts or portfolios not remembering the needs of the poor and forgetting that we are not promised even tomorrow. Those who only think of what they can gain for themselves and put greater values in such things are not preparing themselves for eternity with God. It is shortsightedness.
For us, those who do not have all the answers, definitely me, the world we live in seems much more real than the Spiritual world. Yet the truth is that the world we walk in is only a reflected shadow in comparison to the reality of the Spiritual world / the heavenly kingdom. So to us, who are blessed to have, it is so very difficult to see beyond the grocery list, the shopping, the car and house. We feel a since that we deserve this comfort because we have worked so hard for it. We do not have perspective to understand true suffering in comparison to the bounty of our riches.
So who are we as Christians? Who are our neighbors, our brothers and sisters? I say that these are every member of the human race, Christian or non-Christian. Our neighbors, whom we are to love as we love ourselves, are those who are poor of spirit, of basic physical needs, of love, etc. How many of us have felt the Spirit of the Lord tugging at our heart when we see suffering and think to ourselves “I am going to do something,” but never do anything because we forget about it, don’t have time or latter decide it isn’t that big of a problem. Why do we hesitate? Believe me when I say that I am speaking to myself as much as to anyone else.
What will we say to God when he asks how we lived? We are being asked that very question within this passage. How are we living? For whom are we living? What we are promised is not food and comfort in this world. What we are promised is that if we acknowledge Christ before others in our hearts and in our lives we will be given the Kingdom of God. God knows that we all need food and basic needs, but he has given us charge over the recourses to supply these needs to everyone. To spread our blessings to those who lack. I know that I am very blessed. I am comfortable, even too comfortable. God calls us to make ourselves a little uncomfortable to relieve the great suffering of the mass majority of the world.
James 2: 15-17 “If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”
This was such an important revelation for me. It filled my heart with great conviction and turned me to God, as I had become distracted recently. I propose that you also read through Luke 12, and give James 2 a look. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on these passages.
This is my first Mission with the National Church. I am thrilled to participate with this church that I consider my home. I love the latin culture, dance, soccer, passionate people. This is the path God has lead me and I am so very gratefull for the oportunity. I plan on pursuing agricultural sustainability/development in the comming year(s). I hope to continue to work with the Episcopal church spreading the beautiful Good News of Christ while helping to tend the Creation.