And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”. Luke 12:15
What is motivating this man to interrupt Jesus while he is teaching? He’s demanding his inheritance from his brother and shouts at Jesus to intervene. We could speculate several motivations: comfort, power, prestige, freedom. All of them reveal the interrupter’s attitude toward wealth and even life itself. Whatever this man’s motivation might have been, Jesus answers it with a word of caution.
The man is given a pointed warning: “take care and be on your guard against all covetousness (greed)”, and then a word of wisdom: “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” In the original Greek language this passage was written in Jesus uses the word ‘zoe’ which means “essence of life’ instead of ‘bios’ which means “life.” The interrupter has life, but his attitude about his way of life is exposed. The essence of his life is that he wants more money, perhaps allowing him more freedom from his family. Maybe he’s attracted to the freedom to do what he wants, when he wants, with the inheritance. This man isn’t the only one who might feel this way. How many of us have thought a little more money would open some doors to the good life? Jesus has strong words for a man with his attitude. Foolish is the one who thinks he owns treasure for himself and is not thinking about God.
Are you experiencing freedom holding your possessions or are your possessions holding you? Jesus’s warning says take care and be on your guard against ALL greed. Do you regard everything you have as yours or on loan from the Lord? Take inventory of your “stuff.” What’s keeping you from following Jesus and living for the Kingdom with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? What would Jesus say to you about your attitude towards possessions? True riches and true freedom are right relationships with God, ourselves, others and our possessions. Let God show you the adjustments you need to make. “Take care”.
By Donna Burns