Scripture: "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." Luke 12:11
And also, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12.34
Observations: Luke's gospel paints a picture of Jesus that is far different than the meek and mild Jesus that most of us learned about in Sunday School. His harsh words against the Pharisees, his stern warnings about hypocrisy, greed and spiritual slothfulness, and his predictions about the divisions and persecution that would come to his followers give us a window into the volatile setting of the New Testament world.
Luke was the Apostle Paul's traveling companion and he witnessed the very kinds of persecution that Jesus predicted. Notice He says "when" not "if" you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities. Luke stayed a faithful companion to Paul throughout his years of imprisonment long after others had deserted him (2 Tim. 4:11). Hard times call for deep commitment. Persecution followed the spread of the gospel because it was so antithetical to the controlling powers of the kingdoms of this world. But Jesus' followers are to seek first God's kingdom and treasure the things that are of eternal worth.
Apply: The kingdoms of this world will always pressure us to trade our eternal treasures for temporary pleasures. Let the parable of the Rich Fool (vs. 13-21) remind us of how futile it is to spend our lives just to store up treasures on earth.
Prayer: Jesus, help me to find my greatest pleasure in pleasing you. May I remember that living simply and serving others is the way to true riches.