There is one good thing about moving. A person gets to decide what is important enough to make the move! We had a yard sale. We donated items to charities. We even placed some our belongings in the trash! I am sure we are not the only family who pitched belongings in the trash during a move. It makes you wonder why we even keep some items!
Thankfully, life is not all about our possessions! There is more to living than getting all the goodies that I can get. It turns out that sometimes our possessions have us. For our time and energy is used up in maintaining, replacing, and protecting the possessions. When our possessions start having us, then we are missing out on life.
Jesus has this concern for us. We hear this concern when he replies to the question about dividing the family inheritance.
A. Hey teacher, can you make a decision for us? (12:13-15)
1. Jesus had been teaching with great crowds following him
2. His disciples were being taught about relying on the Holy Spirit when it came time to speak
3. Jesus is interrupted by this demand: “Tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
4. Is Jesus to be our judge, or are we to know how to make decisions without him?
5. Think about this scene
a. A brother wants his part of the inheritance
b. Presumably the older brother is not dividing the inheritance properly
c. Is one or both of the brothers being greedy?
– A sister could have asked the question as well, though she would not have been entitled to anything if she had a brother!
d. Moses made decisions in cases like this case
e. Shouldn’t Jesus be able to make a decision in this case (or any case?)
6. Greed can show up in any of our lives!
a. Who is greedy here, the one asking for a decision, the brother, or both?
b. How many families have trouble because of the same situation?
7. It seems as if Jesus is asking to whom are we to be rich toward. We like to be rich toward ourselves. We go along thinking that if we have what the family down the road has, then we will be happy just like that family down the road. But what if that family down the road is not happy? Maybe it turns out we are satisfying our own desires! Life is not about the possessions we have. For we are missing a great deal when we try to be like them. Jesus’ question at the end of this parable helps us understand the parable.
B. To whom are we to be rich toward? (12:16-21)
1. The land produced abundantly
2. Notice the thoughts and words of the rich man
a. “What should I do?
b. I have no place to store my crops
c. I will do this
d. I will pull down my barns & build larger ones
e. There I will store all of my grain and my goods
f. I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years
3. But God has something to say to the rich man!
b. Your life ends tonight
c. Who will have all these things you have prepared?
4. Jesus states a truth: “So it will be for those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
5. How can we be rich toward God? What a question! The writer of Proverbs encourages us to store up treasures for our grandchildren (13:22). Yet the writer of Proverbs wrote that seeking righteousness is more important than treasure (10:2)! Even these tasks are not what this rich fool is doing! He is only concerned about himself! 11 times he uses the first person pronoun in describing his situation. He doesn’t think of God or even his neighbor, let alone any family member. I think Jesus uses the rich fool to describe any of us. For it is not only farmers who can be fools like this man. All of us can be selfish. Maybe the question can be: how can I serve God with what I have? Or maybe the question can be: what does God want me to do?
It might be time for us to seek God. We have been seeking after our own fortunes long enough. We have accumulated plenty for ourselves. We have been foolish in what we have considered important. We don’t know when our lives will end. Who will have all of our possessions?
The poor are among us. The hungry need fed. The widows, orphans, and the aliens in our land need fed. Our kin need someone to help them. Securing all we have for ourselves will be a waste of time. Securing our own lives means we have become selfish. This happens when all we think about is ourselves. It sure is hard to love God when we don’t even think about him. It sure is hard to love our neighbors when we don’t think of them.
How will we be rich toward God? Our lives depend on how we answer this question. Today is the day to ask ourselves this question. Join me at the altar as we all seek God’s help in answering this question.