Wednesday 6 April, 2016

Luke 12:13-21

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

I’m approaching retirement and, like a lot of Australians, I’ve been putting money aside so that I can still have an income when my salary goes away. I thought that was being prudent. But is Jesus saying that’s wrong?

I think the key here is that this foolish man was storing up wealth instead of having a rich relationship with God (v21). Nowhere does God appear in his plans. At no point does he acknowledge the blessings he’s obviously received from God. At no point does he acknowledge that his future blessings depend on God, rather than on his own efforts.

The man who calls out from the crowd is in the same place. Jesus was talking about spiritual things but he is thinking about an inheritance he feels entitled to.

Jesus goes on to teach that the path to a life of blessing is to seek God’s kingdom first (v31). The necessities of life will fall into line behind it.

It’s easy to fall into looking for material blessing but missing all the many other blessings God gives. It’s easy to see the blessings I receive as being ”all for me” and missing the person I was meant to be passing them on to. It’s easy to let material blessings get in the way of seeing the God who blesses.

It’s only if I seek Him first that I can get the rest in their right perspective.

Written by David Cornell

2 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights David, I agree that Jesus isn’t saying that storing financial resources for the future is inherently wrong- after all Proverbs 13:22 says that a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children- something that would need considerable wealth to be able to do if you follow the cultural considerations of the day in terms of who was allowed to receive an inheritance.

    What I find interesting here is that Christ is clearly not been “meek and mild” in this passage as many people perceive him to be- he effectively shocks a man out of his greedy tendencies by saying “You fool! Tonight your life will be over!!!”

    Lord, where I have a need to repent of a sinful attitude, give me ears to hear you. But, if I don’t listen at first, call me to repent by whatever means necessary.

  2. Richard says:

    David

    Love your insights. At SOAP this morning I have written.

    The initial question seems simple enough the questioner wants his money which he clearly feels he is owed.

    Jesus denies any authority in the matter and then cautions regarding greed, making plain that life is not won by those who have the most things.

    Jesus loves His stories. He uses them to bring a point out powerfully without being overly direct. This also allows people to position themselves in the story.

    This story is in our face, after all our work, accumulating, working hard and even expecting a great retirement life may be snuffed out and we get no opportunity to enjoy the fruit of our labour.

    Greed really is no substitute for life!

    So for me the message is clear I must not let greed get a hold of me!

    Father give me clarity of heart before You that I may not be greedy.

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