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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

RAVENS DON'T BUILD BARNS

Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better that the fowls? (Also see Matthew 6:26)

Did you ever wander whyravens, or other birds for that matter, do not have barns in which to store food? They neither plant nor do they harvest food crops. God provides food and water to sustain their lives. Other than to search for their food, birds exert no effort to provide for themselves. For birds, today's food and water is sufficient to sustain their immediate needs. Tomorrow's food and water will be searched for tomorrow. Without storing food in barns or water in holding tanks for future needs, the necessities of birds are provided by the providence of God, their Creator, on a daily basis. There is no need for barns or other storage facilities since they know that food and water will be provided when needed by their Creator.

Considering the lesson text,and the message it brings to us, there are many applications that could be made. For instance, an application Christ made is found in Luke 12:13-14. A person in his audience requested Jesus to speak to his brother and ask him to divide the family inheritance with him. Jesus refused to take part in this matter. It was evident that covetous reasons were behind this request. However, using this incident, Jesus taught a message on covetousness. Luke 12:16-21 contains Jesus' teaching usually referred to as the "Parable of the Rich Man." The parable states that a rich man had a bountiful harvest. It was so plentiful that the man did not have sufficient barn space to store the crop's yield. His solution was to tear down his barns and build much bigger ones to store all my fruits and my goods. With such a bounty laid up in store, the rich man said to himself, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. However, God called him a fool. Why? Because, God said, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. This conclusion tells us that after death all earthly possessions will be of no use to their owner. All the things worked for and stored for future life here on earth, will have been in vain. The conclusion to the parable and its teaching is found in verse 21, So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

As we make a comparison, we find the difference between the men in these examples and the Raven, is covetousness. This characteristic is listed among the gravest of sins in Ephesians 5:3. The verse tells us that covetousness is something that should never be named as one of life's tenets to live by. In 1 Corinthians 7:9-10, it is also listed among the vilest of sins that will exclude one from inheriting the kingdom of God. The Raven seems to understand the seriousness of this deadly sin. The Raven appears to follow the teaching found in Hebrews 13:5, Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. The Raven is content with his daily ration of food and water provided by God, and seems to depend on his Creator to provide for tomorrow when tomorrow arrives.

Unlike the Raven, the character of the men Jesus used as examples was filled with covetousness. They possessed the sinful desire for more wealth. An innate desire for wealth consumed them to the extent that all else was not important in life except riches. They failed to see Jesus' warning as recorded in Luke 12:15: Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. In livinga covetous life,men and women arerobbed of all spiritual benefits found in doing good deeds. Their selfish desires keep them from recognizing the need of others. It keeps them from obeying God's commandment of charitable love for their fellow man. Ultimately, it also robs them of eternal life in heaven. This is evident in Paul's writing to Timothy: But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (I Timothy 6:9-10).

What a beautiful world it would be if you and I, and the rest of the world, patterned out lives more after the Raven, and less after Covetous Mankind. Consumed by covetousness leaves no time to follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness, and causes one to miss God's rewards for doing so. Instead of greedily seeking wealth, lay hold on eternal life. Don't miss out on the best fight of your life. Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12a).