Someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
“Friend,” he said to him, “who appointed me a judge or arbitrator over you?” He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”
Then he told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive. He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. Then I’ll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?’
“That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Then he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. 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? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?
“Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he do for you—you of little faith? Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
“But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (CSB)
In today’s passage Jesus is talking about one of the leading causes of people not living a life that displays the “fruit” the Spirit that we just finished talking about. And the leading cause that Jesus is talking about here is greed and the anxiety that it causes in our lives.
In verse 15 of today’s passage Jesus tells us, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” (CSB) The question that we should all be asking ourselves here is: What exactly is Jesus saying here? Jesus is saying that to make earthly gain or riches a primary desire in our lives is a costly and fatal error that can lead to eternal loss and that we must realize that in no way does our wealth determine our worth or our significance. And there are three bigs things that we need to understand before we can move on to the cure for this greed and the anxiety it causes.
- The Greek word used here for “greed” (“pleonexia”) literally conveys the thirst for having more. Which simply means that the desire for and the drive to possess worldly things builds upon itself.
- A selfish and wrongful desire for more does not refer to providing for one’s own needs and those of one’s family. While part of our lives must be spent working to provide for our needs, we must be careful to invest our time, efforts and resources in becoming “rich towards God.” This involves pursuing his kingdom and his righteousness above everything else.
- Each of us should pay attention to Jesus’ warning and examine whether selfishness and greed exists in our own hearts.
Thankfully in verse 31 of today’s passage Jesus gives us the cure for our greed and the anxiety that it causes when he says, “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.” (CSB) But how does this cure work, or in other words how do we apply this cure to our lives? And thankfully Jesus gives us the answer to that question in the very last verse in today’s passage when he says, “For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34 CSB).
For you see your treasure is what you value and pursue the most in life, and it is proven by your priorities, passions, practices and/or actions. Your heart represents feelings, thoughts, desires, values, will and decisions—in other words the core of who you really are—and your heart is attracted to the things that are most important to you. So here is how this is applied to your life:
- If you treasure earthly things, then your heart and affections will be motivated and captivated by such things.
- If your treasure in in God’s kingdom—which is his purposes on earth that will have effect for eternity—and you are motivated by his Word, his presence and your relationship to him, then your heart will be drawn closer to him and as a result, your life will be set on his eternal purposes as you prepare for the Lord’s return.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
Deuteronomy 32:28-52, Luke 12:35-59, Psalm 78:56-64 and Proverbs 12:24