Read Luke 12:32-40. In fact, just read all of Luke 12 up to verse 40.

Sell your possessions, and give alms. (Luke 12:33a)

What drives you to do what you do? Why do you get up in the morning and go to work? Why do you get dressed and eat breakfast? Why not just get up and immediately head out in your birthday suit? (You might do that if your house were on fire!)

The affections are the needs and desires that drive us. They are the fuel cell powering the decision-making apparatus of the will. Without affections we wouldn’t get out of that bed at all—we would lie there until we starve and then rot. The affections are at the core of your being. In a deep sense, you are what you love.

Jesus’ teaching in Luke 12 is full of medicine for misdirected affections. “Beware of hypocrisy”—don’t let your actions be driven by what people will think. That affection drives you to deceit. It’s not effective, anyway—someday all will be revealed, and then you will be asked to give up your chair of honor to go sit in the corner. It’s better strategy to let people think badly of you now.

“Be on your guard against greed”—don’t seek self-sufficiency and independence. It leads you away from me. It’s an illusion anyway. You may be scheduled to die tomorrow and you wouldn’t be able to prevent it. “Do not fear those who can kill the body”—striving to keep yourself safe and respectable will lead you to deny me and put you at eternal risk. “Do not keep striving for what you are to eat and to drink”—serve God and seek first His kingdom and He will provide for your needs.

“It is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” You are to inherit—well, everything. But to get there, you must be headed in that direction. “Sell all that you have.” If you are to be a child of the Father and inherit the Father’s kingdom, you can’t be building your own kingdom in a different place. It’s pulling you away. Instead, treat all that you have as a part of your Father’s kingdom, His possessions, over which you are steward. Use them in his service, in his name. “Give to the poor.”

To the extent that you give all that you have and all that you are to God, to the extent that you desire him, to that extent he gives all that he has to you and desires you. He even gives his lifeblood, that you may give yours.

Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin College and the director of ccel.org and hymnary.org.