Luke 12:24

ESV Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
NIV Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
NASB Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!
CSB Consider the ravens: They don't sow or reap; they don't have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren't you worth much more than the birds?
NLT Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!
KJV 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 than the fowls?

What does Luke 12:24 mean?

Jesus has told His disciples that they should not fear physical death (Luke 12:4). Now, He explains they should trust God for their survival. If God can provide food for ravens, He can feed them; they are far more valuable than ravens. His point is not that God will always make sure His followers have ample nutrition and comfortable clothes. In fact, if His plan includes it, hunger and exposure may be part of their experience (2 Corinthians 11:23–29). Rather, He is saying that God can provide and that anxiety does nothing other than show a lack of faith. Panicking about food doesn't make food appear.

The reference to storehouses seems to be a comparison with the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:15–21). The term for "ravens" refers to any variety of crow. According to the Old Testament law, these are unclean (Leviticus 11:13–15; Deuteronomy 14:11–14). Yet God still provides for them (Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9). In fact, God even used ravens to provide food for Elijah (1 Kings 17:1-7). Ravens do not worry about their food or try to store it. In contrast, the rich farmer built bigger barns to keep his great harvest and wished to live idly for several years (Luke 12:18–19).

Jesus' point is that the disciples shouldn't worry about food. Their time on earth is too valuable to spend merely trying to extend that time. They need to give witness to Jesus in front of important people, serve God, lead His followers, and declare the coming of His kingdom (Luke 12:11, 35–48). The disciples experienced such provision for their work of ministry when Jesus sent them out to towns ahead of Him (Luke 9:1–6; 10:1–12). This does not preclude believers working to earn a living. The Bible instructs against idleness and has a positive view of work (Proverbs 6:6–11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10–12). All types of work can be done to the glory of God, and the finances they provide are God's provision. Like ravens, we should partake when God presents us with food. We can certainly pray for food (Luke 11:3), but we shouldn't be anxious about it. Physical death isn't something believers in Christ need to fear, and neither is going hungry.

This verse is one of many that tell God's people to look at nature to see God's truth. Another is Proverbs 6:6–9 which tells the lazy person to look to the ant who works hard. Romans 1:19–20 and Psalm 19:1 point out that God's creation reveals aspects of His character. The ravens teach us not to worry about food; wildflowers show us not to worry about clothing (Luke 12:27–28); ants teach us not to be lazy. This is what many call the "Book of Nature": God's truth in His creation that complements what He has provided in Scripture.
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