Do Not Be Afraid

What are you afraid of? Spiders, snakes, and public speaking tend to top the list of America’s most common fears. But, honestly, what do you fear? Most of us have something that consumes our thoughts and concerns us. We might not even use the word fear necessarily, but it is something that worries us to a degree and makes us wonder if we’re really making the right decisions and doing things the right way.

I assume that food, water, and clothing are not at the top of the list of worries for most of you reading this. These are things taken for granted by many in our country. However, for those living 2000 years ago, and still for many people today, these are legitimate concerns. Where will my next meal come from? Will there be drinkable water? Will I have adequate clothing and covering from the outdoors?

In both Matthew and Luke, Jesus addresses the people’s worries. We are probably most familiar with Matthew 6:25-34. This is when Jesus, during the Sermon on the Mount, tells the people that seeking first the Kingdom of God is what ultimately matters most (Matthew 6:33).

This teaching, however, is also found in Luke 12:22-34. In Luke, the context is a question about a family inheritance. Jesus cautions against greed, proceeding to tell a parable about a certain rich man who decided to build bigger barns. Yet, the man was told, “This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (Luke 12:20) Then, in the following verses, Jesus tells his disciples to not be anxious about food and clothing.

On this occasion in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Jesus calls them a little flock. This implies that they are like sheep, and Jesus is the shepherd. A little flock might be afraid. After all, they are little. And they are a flock. They are not many and mighty. Rather, they are a little flock.

We should take these words to heart. “Do not be afraid, little flock.” These are the words of a tender shepherd who wants to provide for the sheep. But it doesn’t stop there. Jesus, speaking to the little flock who is worried about tomorrow’s provisions, goes on to say, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys” (Luke 12:33).

Today, if you’re fearful about what tomorrow brings, hear Jesus’ words. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”