Luke 12:13-14 (NIV) 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”
On verses 13-14: Though this man in the crowd called Jesus “Teacher” in verse 13, the way he makes this demand of Jesus in verse 14 suggests that this man was not that serious about following Jesus or his teachings (such as what Jesus says in Luke 6:30) and simply wanted to use Jesus to get money.
What can we learn from this? When we have the right perspective on money, we will use money and love people. But when we have the wrong perspective on money, we will use people and love money.
Luke 12:15 (NIV) 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
On verse 15: Jesus saw that this man’s biggest problem was not that his brother had his money, but rather that this man was controlled by greed and put his hope in wealth and possessions. So Jesus tells the parable we read in the verses that follow.
What can we learn from this? Sometimes what we think is our biggest problem is actually not our biggest problem. Sometimes lying beneath the surface of what we think is our biggest problem is our real problem.
Luke 12:16-21 (NIV) 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘ 20 “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?’ 21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
On verses 16-21: In Jesus’ parable, was it wrong for the rich man to want to do well in business or to save up? No. The point is the trajectory of this rich man’s life. All this rich man cared about was his own happiness, prosperity and enjoyment (v19), storing up “things for himself” (v21). He was not in any way concerned about the bigger purposes for which God created him. He was not concerned about being alive and worshiping Jesus, being expectant and growing into a Christ-like disciple, being involved and serving God with his talents, being out loud and leading others to Jesus, or being united and loving his church family. His life was all just about him. And though he may have been envied by his peers and admired by people who wanted to be rich just like him, God’s assessment of his life is: “You fool! You wasted your life.”
What can we learn from this? At the end of our lives, each one of us will give God an account for how we lived our lives. If you live like the rich man in Jesus’ parable, you’ll find in the end that you are not so rich or happy after all. Instead of living to store up good things for yourself, live for God’s purposes and store up treasure in heaven that will not be destroyed.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would use money and love people, not the other way around. I pray that my life would not be one that is all about storing up good things for myself. I pray that I would be rich in the purposes for which You created me: to worship You, to grow more like You, to serve You, to lead others to You, and to love my spiritual family. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!