13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
I’ve heard many a story about families being divided over a relative’s possessions after (sometimes even before) they’ve died. Even when the deceased has given specific instructions in their will, the remaining descendants can feel entitled and their greed can drive them into a bitter court battle over who should get what. The ridiculous thing is, those who inherit will one-day die as well, then who will get everything they fought so hard for?
Jesus told several parables about wealth:
The Rich Fool
The Great Feast
The Shrew Manager
Why was it so important for Him to re-emphasize these life lessons over and over again?
1 Timothy 6:10
10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Jesus knew that great wealth could be used by the enemy to quickly turn our hearts from grateful to greedy. He also knew that at the bottom of every root of greed is a spirit of PRIDE. Pride is what keeps us from having a right relationship with Him- and a right relationship towards money. As we strive to make more cash, buy more stuff and inherit more family heirlooms we are trying to ensure that WE are always provided for…therefore, WE don’t need to depend on God. As WE continue to produce fine crops and tear down our barns to build bigger ones (aka: houses, garages, attics, sheds, storage units…) WE are storing up earthly treasures at the expense of bankrupting our relationship with the One who provides everything for us.
I have lived at various levels of greed all my life. When I was a child I thought dollar bills grew on trees and credit cards equaled FREE money. I would stomp my feet (sometimes literally) when told “no” after asking my parents to buy me something. As a teenager, when moving from CA to NC I was ticked that my mom didn’t choose the biggest house in the ritziest neighborhood. I resented that I had to earn scholarships for college and take a work-study job to have money to spend. When I got married and was slapped with the real world; taxes, insurance, bills….I just opened up another credit card so I could get whatever my little greedy heart desired.
That is, until God began uprooting my greed…..
He was merciful, and did it over a period of years. First it was tithing, then it was getting out of debt, and then it was giving to others. By the time my husband lost his job- and our sole means of income went with it- I had begun to understand that true riches aren’t based in my possessions, but in the most important relationship I will ever encounter on this earth- or for eternity.
Thank you for the revelation that YOU are my provider. Not only do you supply me with everything I need to be sustained every day- you pour out your Spirit on me, giving life to my spirit and my soul. Thank you, Lord for continuing to uproot the lies in my life and helping me to seek an eternal inheritance instead of an earthly one. You alone deserve all the glory and praise for filling my life with riches far greater than I could ever strive for.