Here is a bit of what N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, New Testament scholar (named by Christianity Today as one of the top five theologians in the world) has to say about the passage in Luke I wrote about yesterday.
“The modern Western world is built on anxiety. You see it on the faces of people hurrying to work. You see it even more as they travel home, tired but without having solved life’s problems. The faces are weary, puzzled, living with the unanswerable question as to what it all means. This world thrives on people setting higher and higher goals for themselves, and each other, so that they can worry all day and all year about whether they will reach them. If they do, they will set new ones. If they don’t, they will feel they’ve failed. Was this really how we were supposed to live?
Jesus’ warnings indicate that much of the world at least, for much of human history, has faced the same problem. The difference though, is the level at which the anxiety strikes. Many of Jesus’ hearers only just had enough to live on, and there was alwasy the prospect that one day they wouldn’t have even that. Most of them would have perhaps one spare garment, but not more. As with many in today’s non-Western world, one disaster – the family breadwinner being sick or injured, for example – could mean instant destruction. And it was to people like that, not to people worried about affording smart cars and foreign holidays, that Jesus gave his clear and striking commands about not worrying over food and clothing.
…Jesus was coming with the message that God was… longing to shower grace and new life on people of every race and place. Israel, as far as he could see, was in danger of becoming like the man in the story who wanted the security of enough possessions to last him a long time. Societies and individuals alike can think themselves into this false position, to which the short answer is God’s: ‘You fool!’ Life isnt like that. The kingdom of God isn’t like that.
The kingdom of God is, at its heart, about God’s sovereignty sweeping the world with love and power, so that human beings, each made in God’s image and each one loved so dearly, may relax in the knowledge that God is in control. …”
All of this comes from Wright’s Luke for Everyone Bible commentary. Great, great stuff.