Luke 12:22 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentThere is a twofold sense and interpretation given of these verses.
1. Some take them as spoken only to the apostles, directing them absolutely to cast off all care for the things of this life, that so they might attend upon Christ's person, and wholly give up themselves to that work to which he had called them: and therefore St. Luke here takes notice, that after he had cautioned his hearers in general against covetousness, he applies himself particularly to his disciples, and tells them, that he would have them so far from this sin of covetousness, that they should not use that ordinary care, and common industry about the things of this life, which is not only lawful but necessary for men in all ordinary cases, verse 22. And he said unto his disciples, therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or drink. But if we understand the words in this sense, we must look upon it only as a temporary command, given to the apostles for that time only; like that in St. Matthew Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass, in your purses: neither coat nor scrip; Mat 10:9 which no man ever understood as a general law to all Christians, but as a particular precept to the apostles at that time.
2. Others understand these injunctions of our Saviour to be consistent with a prudent and provident care of the things of this life, not forbidding a regular industry and diligence for the obtaining of them, but condemning only an anxious, vexatious, tormenting care, and an over solicitious diligence for the things of this life; and taking our Saviour's words for a general and standing rule to all Christians, they only forbid distrustful thoughfulness, distracting cares, which drive a man's mind this way and that way, (like meteors or clouds in the air, as the word signifies.)
Now against this vexatious care, and solicitious thoughfulness, our Saviour propounds many weighty arguments or considerations; four especially. He tells us, such cares are needless, fruitless, heathenish, and brutish.
1. It is needless: Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things, and will certainly provide for you; and what need you take care, and God too? Cast your care upon him.
2. It is fruitless: Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? We may sooner by our carping care add a furlong to our grief, than a cubit to our comfort. All our own care, without God's help, will neither feed us when we are hungry, nor nourish us when we are fed.
3. It is heathenish: After all these things do the Gentiles seek, Mat 6:32 The ends and objects of a Christian's thoughts ought to be higher and more sublime than that of heathens.
4. Lastly, it is brutish, no, worse than brutish. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the ravens of the valley, all are fed and sustained by God, without any care of their own; much more shall his children. Has God a breakfast ready for every little bird that comes chirping out of its nest, and for every beast of the field that comes leaping out of its den; and will he not much more provide for you? Surely, that God that feeds the ravens when they cry, will not starve his children when they pray.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.