By Gretchen Potma
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
Here is a little verse, tucked in among parables and teachings of Jesus that is easily missed, but it is full of hope and encouragement for any day and especially these days when life seems to be even more full of concerns about dangers to our bodies and to our souls.
As Jesus is teaching in the midst of a very large crowd, he directs his words specifically to his disciples and tells them not to be afraid. Since we are his disciples, his words are also meant for us. Jesus does not give us commands without also giving us the strength to do them. In this verse, the strength comes as we understand more about who God is and what he is like and treasure him more.
In this short sentence, Jesus packed five reasons why we do not need to be afraid.
- His disciples are a little flock and flocks have shepherds. Jesus is the good shepherd who knows his sheep and lays down his life for them (John 10). The LORD is our shepherd who is always with us so that we don’t need to fear any evil (Psalm 23).
- God is our loving Father. No matter how good (or bad) our earthly father is, God is better. Jesus instructed us to pray to him as our Father (Luke 11). He is happy for us to continue to be his dependants no matter what our age is.
- He has a kingdom, so that means he is a king. “For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!” (Psalm 47:7-9)
- God has the positions of shepherd, father and king and the authority that goes with them. He could be stern and authoritarian as he holds those roles, but Jesus reminds us that he takes pleasure and delights in his relationship with his defenseless sheep, his vulnerable children, his poor subjects.
- God gives generously. He doesn’t sell or lease his kingdom. He doesn’t need any payment. He can freely give and then give more without any concern for whether he has enough to spare.
This is a short verse that we can easily memorize and call to mind throughout the day and maybe especially during the night. Trusting in these words as Truth, not being afraid and anxious, magnifies God as our gracious and generous Shepherd, Father and King, for “where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”