Luke 12:25, "And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?"
This morning, man continually likes to ignore limitations and restrictions. Today's world could aptly be described as "unrestricted pleasure seeking." Today's motto seems to be, "If you want it, get it. If it feels good, do it." Some today even cry out about their "rights." Society cannot function for long with unrestricted bounds, but whether man likes to admit it or not, we have them even if we do not admit them. Restrictions come in different forms: mandated or automatic. Whenever we drive a car, there are automatic restrictions that we cannot control. For example, there is a top speed that the vehicle cannot exceed, but there are speed limits that we can choose to ignore. One restriction is automatic (cannot be changed), while the other is mandated by enforcers of the law. While man today ignores the mandated restrictions more than he ever has (due to lax or non-existent consequences), man cannot circumvent automatic restrictions, even though he may claim to.
Christ speaks in our study verse about man's automatic limitations. Whether man admits it or not or likes it or not, there are certain bounds we cannot cross. For example, man cannot live underwater without an air supply for him to breathe. Ignoring that principle will not bring about anything short of a swift death. Yet, Christ shows something that is rather small in His own eyes that we are limited in. The next verse after ours (Verse 26) shows that the limitation upon us in verse 25 is something that Christ terms "least." In other words, adding one cubit of stature is power that is "least" in the eyes of an Omnipotent God.
So, Christ attributes man's automatic limitations in things that are least. Therefore, if man has limitations that cannot be undone in small things, what conceivable authority would man have in things that are great? Have you ever seen someone that proudly described their "right decision for Christ" to secure their eternal destiny? Some of these same people have shambles for personal lives. If it really was conceivable that man had authority to dictate his own eternal home in heaven with God, should not we expect the lesser (least) thing of his personal life to follow suit?
Paul makes a simple yet powerful point about the qualifications of a bishop in I Timothy 3:4-5. If a man cannot rule his own house well, how can he be expected to handle the care of the church in a decent and orderly manner. Being unable to ably control his house in a Godly manner (fewer people), why should one expect that adequately control matters in the house of God (more people)? The same problem emerges in natural life compared to spiritual life. If one cannot adequately keep his natural affairs in order, what conceivable reason does he have to think he can keep his spiritual affairs in order?
Not having enough natural might and ability to add height to our stature shows the automatic limitations that we mortals are bound to. Moving from the thought of being automatically ill-suited to make our eternal home in heaven, consider what other limitations we should see from our verse. If I cannot make myself taller naturally, then how would I expect to be able to increase my spiritual stature just by taking thought? The old adage, "Where there's a will, there's a way" is annihilated by Christ's thought. As a young boy, my dream was to play professional basketball with Larry Bird for the Boston Celtics. No matter how much I wanted it (willed it), I just was not able to get tall enough or agile enough to go far in basketball.
Just simply taking thought would never make me any taller. Just simply taking thought will not make us spiritually any taller. For us to grow and have increase in a spiritual way, God must be the giver of it. (I Corinthians 3:6) So, instead of taking thought to increase spiritual might, we must beseech God to give us increase as faithful soldiers of the cross. Just by examining natural limitations, we see that we are severely hampered to do what many today claim to be doing.
However, consider the glory of the thought as it fits within the context. The previous verse says that God cares for simple animals (ravens). Even though they roam the range and sky, God cares for them, and how much more precious are we than birds? Are the birds just as limited as man? Perhaps moreso since man can think in ways that fowls cannot. Yet, if God is able to provide those least things for birds, so can He also provide the least and our all needed things to us. Verse 27 then describes simple plants (lilies) that are similarly cared for by God.
The point of seeing and admitting our own limitations with open honesty is not to have some kind of pity-party about them. We should not wallow in them any more than some proudly choose to ignore them and try to do what they could never do. Rather, we should point our faith upwards to the One that adds those necessary things to us. Have you ever seen lilies during a rainstorm? Those beautiful buds are pointed upward to drink that sweet dew from heaven. So should our hearts and minds be turned upward to receive the wonderful dewdrops of heaven when the Lord graciously showers down those things that we need. Can we just take thought and get these things? No, we are limited, but our thoughts and prayers should continually ascend for those things that we need and thanksgiving for those things that we could never do. I could not pull myself up to heaven by taking thought, nor can I get those things that I need just by taking thought. Yet, my thoughts can thank Him for the former and beseech and thank Him for the latter.