John T. Willis

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Jesus' Lesson about Greed--Luke 12:13-21

While Jesus was teaching about fear and forgiveness, some unknown individual in the crowd asked Jesus to tell his brother to divide the family inheritance with him. Jesus responded by declaring the parable of the rich fool to warn everyone to guard against all kinds of greed. This is in Luke 12:13-21 and falls into two parts. I. The Request of the anonymous individual in the crowd. 12:13-15. a. Someone in the crowd cried out to Jesus: "Tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." Obviously, this individual was not interested in hearing Jesus' words and coming to God, but in gaining as much money as possible. 12:13. b. Jesus responded first by saying that Jesus is not a judge or arbitrator. 12:14. Cf. Exodus 2:14; Acts 7:27, 35. c. Then Jesus voluntarily said that each person must be on guard against all kinds of greed because one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. Greed is a major problem of the human heart. Greed is the lust to have more, more than one needs, the boundless grasping after more. The greedy person behaves as if the important thing in life is only secured when that person has amassed the superfluous. See Ecclesiastes 2:3-11; Job 31:24-28; Luke 21:4; Romans 1:29; 2 Corinthians 9:5; Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 4:19; 5:3; 2 Peter 2:3, 14. 12:15. II. Jesus' Parable of the Rich Fool. 12:16-21. a. Jesus speaks a parable about a rich man whose land produced abundantly. The rich man thought: What should I do because all of my stores are full? Then he decided to pull down his storehouses and build larger ones so that he could spend the rest of his life to relax and do whatever he wished. To "eat, drink, and be merry" means to live a carefree, luxurious, dissipated life: cf. Isaiah 22:13; Ecclesiastes 8:15; 1 Corinthians 15:32. 12:16-19. b. God responded to this rich man that this rich man is a FOOL because this very day his life will come to an end, and then who will receive all his possessions? Although he seems to be very wealthy and very happy, his life is worthless because his heart was self-centered rather than God-centered. 12:20. c. Jesus concludes by pointing out that when a person hordes all his personal possessions, he stores up treasures for himself rather than being rich toward God. To be rich toward God is to receive God's abundant blessings and then share them with the poor, the disabled, the homeless, the widow, the orphan, the alien. Cf. Deuteronomy 24:17-22; 2 Corinthians 6:10. Share YOUR insights and failures and losses and dreams and successes with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis