Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 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.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 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 all my grain and my goods. 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.”’ 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 anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21
The questioner in this parable is only looking out for himself. In the parable that follows Jesus’ warning about greed, the rich man is only interested in storing up more wealth for himself, and spending it on himself. Similarly, in America many think we need to accumulate money and things to feel secure. Jesus warns us to guard against greed and looking for security in wealth here in Luke.
My husband is an engineer for an aerospace firm, and when we were dating I did feel a sense of security because I knew he made a good income and that we would not struggle financially, as long as he stayed employed by this company. But, this company has a reputation for laying off their employees at a moment’s notice. Early in our marriage there were times I felt secure in his income, and other times I worried about him losing his job suddenly because then we might not be able to pay our bills. As the years passed, we both learned how to find our security in God, not in money.
Paul addresses this issue in I 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 be 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.” We have been married 30 years, God has been faithful to us to provide for our needs, and we have been able to be give to missionaries locally and around the globe, because of the income God has given us.
I believe the context of this parable is also important. Luke 12:1-12, has warnings and advice that the young man in todays’ parable did not seem to hear or comprehend. Also, Luke 12:22-34, Jesus gives us some practical advice on how to not worry about money, and instead, to build up treasure in heaven. Today, read Luke 12:1-34, listen to what God tells you about yourself, find a way to be generous this week with your time, talent or treasure.
By Grace Hunter