Thursday, October 10, 2013


In the middle of his teaching about the Kingdom, Jesus was interrupted by a man in the crowd who said, “Rabbi, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Now, this wasn’t out of the ordinary. Rabbis often settled legal matters such as this one, but Jesus is quick to point out to the man that he was more than a Rabbi, he was the Messiah who was proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom.

Then, Jesus turns back to the crowd and uses the interruption as a spring board to warn them about the love of money, saying:

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21)

Essentially, God has blessed the man in the parable with more than he can use. Instead of sharing what he has with those around him living in poverty, he decided to hoard it all for himself. But before he can enjoy it, he dies that same night and loses everything.

Now, it’s too easy to make this a parable about rich people. Jesus doesn’t do that. He warns all of us not to put our trust in possessions and wealth, regardless of our current financial situation.

Truthfully, this parable has cut me to the heart recently. I’ve realized that Jesus is talking to me directly here. I’ve been living my life lately as if it is all about me and my comfort. Everything I do seems to have one single purpose at the center of it – to serve my flesh.

No, I’m not talking about anything as repugnant as lust or pornography here. I’m talking about the simple pampering of my flesh with endless entertainment, good food, and the basic desire to be made comfortable and happy at all times.

But that’s not my calling. I am called, as every follower of Christ is called, to lay down my life for others. I’m called to seek the well-being of others before I seek my own. I’m called to suffer for the sake of the Gospel and to take up my cross daily. That’s not comfortable or safe.

The wisdom of Jesus here is simple. Everything you and I own will one day belong to someone else. As Paul says:

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Tim. 6:6-8)

This is what an Eternal perspective looks like. It’s why Jesus urges us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread” because our goal should be to live daily by the grace of God, not out of the abundance of our own sufficiency.

Simply put, the Kingdom is not about us. We need to let that sink in. Deep. The Kingdom is not about us. It’s about the King. Our part is to love Him and to love others as He has loved us.

One thing that sticks out to me in the parable that Jesus tells is the final word about being “rich towards God.” What does that mean?

I believe the answer is found in 1 Timothy 6:17-19:

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Am I rich? Compared to the rest of the World, yes. Compared to most people around me, no. But that’s beside the point. The simple truth is that I am just like the rich man in the parable that Jesus shares. I have more than enough for myself and my family. We have all we need and a little bit extra. So, what am I to do with that extra? I believe that Jesus is calling me to surrender all of that to Him – and myself – for the eternal work of the Kingdom.

This is only the beginning.



1 comment:

D. L. Webster said...

Another way of thinking about it: true wealth is knowing Jesus. And we also shouldn't hoard that but share it as well.