My wife Erin & I recently bought a house in East Birmingham (Crestwood to be exact), and the process of thinking and praying over whether to buy was great for us. We asked God & ourselves, “Is this the wisest way for us to use our money? Would having a house open doors for ministry for us more than our apartment? Would it make it easier or harder for our jobs? For our sense of community? Would buying a house now make it harder for us to pick up and move to the mission field if that’s where we’re called?” These were difficult questions for us to sort through, and I wrestled with a great deal of anxiety over our decision.
Around the same time, my staff partner Ryan was finishing John Piper’s The Pleasures of God and shared some of Piper’s thoughts on Jesus’ thoughts about worrying in Luke 12 (a parallel of the more-oft quoted Matthew 6), where Jesus says,
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat…Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom… For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
John Piper said in response (here), “[Jesus] says your Father knows your daily needs and is far more inclined to give you what you need than he is to feed the ravens and clothe the lilies, but look how he takes care of them! So Jesus does not want us to fear— He wants us to see that God is the kind of God whose people do not need to fear… He is trying to eliminate the fear that God is not the kind of God who really wants to be good to his children…This is what the word means: God’s joy, his desire, his want and wish and hope and pleasure and gladness and delight is to give the kingdom to his flock. ‘Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure—not his duty, not his necessity, not his obligation, but his pleasure—to give you the kingdom.’ That is the kind of God he is.”
What a God we serve! He wants to give us these things more than we want them ourselves!
So…I started to write a song in response… Here’s what I’ve got so far:
“Fear Not, Little Flock”