Luke places this admonishment from Jesus in the context of priorities: eternal values outweigh temporary ones. He tells those who would have him arbitrate estate disputes that death has a way of re-ordering what’s important (12:13-21). To hungry people wondering where their next meal is coming from, he affirms that if we put God’s kingdom values first, we make room for him to provide our necessities (12:22-34).
In Matthew, seeking the kingdom first comes right after Jesus’ enigmatic description of good eyes and bad eyes. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness (NIV 1984, Matthew 6:22,23). As explained by Gary Manning, in New Testament times an evil eye symbolized a stingy heart, and a good eye one that was generous .
Luke situates this good eye / bad eye teaching (11:33-36) just before Jesus’ woes pronounced upon the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (vv. 37-53). He seems to be saying that stinginess and generosity covers more than just finances and possessions. We can be generous or stingy in regard to spiritual things too. We can say a person’s poverty is his own fault, and we can make it difficult for seekers to approach Christ, as if there’s not enough grace to go around.
Being rich toward God requires that we be generous with people.
TODAY’S MEDITATIONHow will you show God’s generosity this week?