The Good Pleasure

Throughout his teaching and healing ministry, Jesus counseled us not to get obsessed with material things and concerns. Wasn’t that one of the messages in this morning’s Gospel parable of the Sower and the Seed? He likened the seed that falls among thorns to the man or woman who hears the word of God but is so focused on the cares and pleasures of life that the word is choked. Repeatedly Jesus taught this message. It was at the core of his healing ministry.

But the ultimate healing came through his death on the cross. It is there, on the cross that he showed the vanity of our restless concerns. It is on the cross that he showed the emptiness of our riches and fears. The claim that material goods have on our lives makes these material goods and concerns among the “powers” that Paul often wrote about – the powers and principalities that aim to separate us from the love of God. But what did Jesus do to these powers? In Colossians 2:15 Paul offers the insight that goes beyond the surface appearances: “He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.”

The context of Luke 12:32 is Jesus telling us not to be anxious about material things. And he ends with the verse here represented. But the picture caption is missing two words. The full verse reads: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Jesus was under no illusion that only a small flock would listen to him. Today, too, his flock is small. But what a profound encouragement this verse contains for all of us, both rich and poor.

Think about it. It is the Father’s “good pleasure” – in Greek, it’s one of those beautiful ευ words that I have often pointed out. God is no grudging giver; God is pleased, more than pleased, to give us the kingdom. God is happy to give us his kingdom. Are you happy to give some of what you have to bring some relief from anxiety to someone else? Can you share in God’s good pleasure? The kingdom of God arrived through the cross of Jesus Christ, on which he disarmed the powers and principalities. You are not under any foreign power or occupation. Your destiny is the kingdom, because it is the Father’s good pleasure to give it to you. So start unburdening yourself of anxieties and the power of material goods. Lighten your load as you keep on the path of righteousness and glory. And don’t be afraid. FEAR NOT, our Healer says.

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