Luke 12:25, "And which of you with taking
thought can add to his stature one cubit?"
This morning, man continually likes to ignore limitations and
restrictions. Today's world could aptly be described as "unrestricted
pleasure seeking." Today's motto seems to be, "If you want it, get it.
If it feels good, do it." Some today even cry out about their "rights."
Society cannot function for long with unrestricted bounds, but whether
man likes to admit it or not, we have them even if we do not admit them.
Restrictions come in different forms: mandated or automatic. Whenever we
drive a car, there are automatic restrictions that we cannot control.
For example, there is a top speed that the vehicle cannot exceed, but
there are speed limits that we can choose to ignore. One restriction is
automatic (cannot be changed), while the other is mandated by enforcers
of the law. While man today ignores the mandated restrictions more than
he ever has (due to lax or non-existent consequences), man cannot
circumvent automatic restrictions, even though he may claim to.
Christ speaks in our study verse about man's automatic limitations.
Whether man admits it or not or likes it or not, there are certain
bounds we cannot cross. For example, man cannot live underwater without
an air supply for him to breathe. Ignoring that principle will not bring
about anything short of a swift death. Yet, Christ shows something that
is rather small in His own eyes that we are limited in. The next verse
after ours (Verse 26) shows that the limitation upon us in verse 25 is
something that Christ terms "least." In other words, adding one cubit of
stature is power that is "least" in the eyes of an Omnipotent God.
So, Christ attributes man's automatic limitations in things that are
least. Therefore, if man has limitations that cannot be undone in small
things, what conceivable authority would man have in things that are
great? Have you ever seen someone that proudly described their "right
decision for Christ" to secure their eternal destiny? Some of these same
people have shambles for personal lives. If it really was conceivable
that man had authority to dictate his own eternal home in heaven with
God, should not we expect the lesser (least) thing of his personal life
to follow suit?
Paul makes a simple yet powerful point about the qualifications of a
bishop in I Timothy 3:4-5. If a man cannot rule his own house well, how
can he be expected to handle the care of the church in a decent and
orderly manner. Being unable to ably control his house in a Godly manner
(fewer people), why should one expect that adequately control matters in
the house of God (more people)? The same problem emerges in natural life
compared to spiritual life. If one cannot adequately keep his natural
affairs in order, what conceivable reason does he have to think he can
keep his spiritual affairs in order?
Not having enough natural might and ability to add height to our stature
shows the automatic limitations that we mortals are bound to. Moving
from the thought of being automatically ill-suited to make our eternal
home in heaven, consider what other limitations we should see from our
verse. If I cannot make myself taller naturally, then how would I expect
to be able to increase my spiritual stature just by taking thought? The
old adage, "Where there's a will, there's a way" is annihilated by
Christ's thought. As a young boy, my dream was to play professional
basketball with Larry Bird for the Boston Celtics. No matter how much I
wanted it (willed it), I just was not able to get tall enough or agile
enough to go far in basketball.
Just simply taking thought would never make me any taller. Just simply
taking thought will not make us spiritually any taller. For us to grow
and have increase in a spiritual way, God must be the giver of it. (I
Corinthians 3:6) So, instead of taking thought to increase spiritual
might, we must beseech God to give us increase as faithful soldiers of
the cross. Just by examining natural limitations, we see that we are
severely hampered to do what many today claim to be doing.
However, consider the glory of the thought as it fits within the
context. The previous verse says that God cares for simple animals
(ravens). Even though they roam the range and sky, God cares for them,
and how much more precious are we than birds? Are the birds just as
limited as man? Perhaps moreso since man can think in ways that fowls
cannot. Yet, if God is able to provide those least things for birds, so
can He also provide the least and our all needed things to us. Verse 27
then describes simple plants (lilies) that are similarly cared for by
The point of seeing and admitting our own limitations with open honesty
is not to have some kind of pity-party about them. We should not wallow
in them any more than some proudly choose to ignore them and try to do
what they could never do. Rather, we should point our faith upwards to
the One that adds those necessary things to us. Have you ever seen
lilies during a rainstorm? Those beautiful buds are pointed upward to
drink that sweet dew from heaven. So should our hearts and minds be
turned upward to receive the wonderful dewdrops of heaven when the Lord
graciously showers down those things that we need. Can we just take
thought and get these things? No, we are limited, but our thoughts and
prayers should continually ascend for those things that we need and
thanksgiving for those things that we could never do. I could not pull
myself up to heaven by taking thought, nor can I get those things that I
need just by taking thought. Yet, my thoughts can thank Him for the
former and beseech and thank Him for the latter.