I was asking the Lord this morning what to study. Very quickly, he led me to Luke 12:25. Let me share this with you in the Amplified:
“And which of you by being overly anxious and troubled with cares can add a cubit to his stature or a moment [unit] of time to his age [the length of his life]?”
I use the Amplified because it covers both common translations and gives the most accurate sense to the meaning. The King James variants use the cubit to your stature. The modern translations use an hour to your life. It’s in the context of —
What are you so worried about?
Jesus is talking about the silliness of worrying about these things—food, clothing, shelter, health, genetic make up, inheritance, any of it. Now that I am no longer employed, these worries have resurfaced. I had a battle with them back in the 1970s and 80s which I thought I had won. Evidently not. The Lord has put us back under the regimen of dependence for our daily bread again. I’m coming back out the other side of a four year bout with this. For quite a bit of that time we were back to the “Lord, I need some food.” and have him give us ten–fifteen dollars to get what we needed that day. Daily dependence is something we really don’t like much. We want to be able to relax and assume things are covered. I don’t want to have to worry about being responsible with what I have been given.
But it goes much further than that. The NIV version of the verse (no, I don’t normally like the NIV) gives me that sense I am talking about today:
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Personally, I don’t think that’s possible. I listen to all the shows with their medical advice and guidance for living. I hear all these things I can do to live longer and feel better. But if I listen carefully, all they really say is that by doing these things I can increase the percentage of hope that I might be doing something that might help. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t really change anything. You should do what the Spirit convinces you to do.
That’s different for all of us. I’m convinced, for example, that soybeans are not food. I’ve eliminated them from my life and I feel better and I believe I’m healthier. Is this for everyone? Nope. That’s what I believe the Lord has me doing.
I remember when our daughter died from a cancer that was 95% curable. My wife had said early on, “someone has to be part of the 5%.” That turned out to be prophetic—God warning her of what was coming in our daughter’s life. The cancer got Annie’s attention and she died a strong believer in her mother’s arms. Together they were singing Jesus loves me as she went to be with him. She had a successful life. She knew her Lord. It was clearly part of the Lord’s plan for her life.
The key scripture about all of this is Colossians 2:16-23. Here’s an excerpted version:
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink… Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism… and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— ‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’… according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value…”
I’m not saying that you should not take these things seriously. You should take every aspect of your life seriously. It’s a life or death proposition and there is only one path to life. But don’t be silly enough to think that you can lengthen your life span or make yourself taller or change your health. Plastic surgery might partially conceal your appearance, but you are still who you are and the person God designed. All of these things are part of your period of training here on earth. You were assigned here under the constrictions of your genetic makeup, cultural heritage, and environmental conditions to make the choice we all must make. Is Jesus really the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and messiah of God?
Nothing else matters!
Relax! Get to know your king. Talk with and listen to Him. He’s the only one who knows the plan.