Luke 12:23

ESV For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
NIV For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
NASB For life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.
CSB For life is more than food and the body more than clothing.
NLT For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.
KJV The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

What does Luke 12:23 mean?

This passage can seem somewhat morbid when first understood in context. Jesus has explained that physical death is nothing to fear but spiritual death is (Luke 12:4–5). He has said that all the money in the world can't protect someone from physical death (Luke 12:13–20). It is one's relationship with God and the work of His kingdom that matter, not physical comforts (Luke 12:21, 35–48). With that in mind, if we are doing God's work, God will provide us what we need until we are finished with that work.

Jesus is not promising that God will always give us enough to eat and sufficient clothing. He is saying that God can provide. Our lives and bodies will be sustained and cared for by God until it is time for us to join Him. If God can feed the ravens on scraps, and we are far more precious than scavenger birds, He can feed us (Luke 12:24). If God can make the flowers of the field beautiful, He can cloth us (Luke 12:28). Knowing God's ability to provide and His love for us, falling into anxiety shows a lack of faith and a misunderstanding of God's plan for us.

This verse is also very affirming. Our life on earth is meant for greater things than food and clothing; we have more value than the years we live on earth. Our lives have eternal meaning. Jesus is calling us to serve Him, obey God, faithfully lead other believers, and preach that the kingdom of God is coming (Luke 10:9; 12:35–44). Obviously, most of us need to work to obtain food and clothing. But such things are only tools to do the real work of glorifying God and drawing people to Him until we can live eternally in God's presence.
What is the Gospel?
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