THE MISDIRECTED LIFE
Lord, thank You for speaking to us so frankly.
Read LUKE 12:13–21
The Parable of the Rich Fool
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “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?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
Few words of Jesus are more penetrating for today’s disciples to hear than these. After all, we do live in a world that is dedicated to the precise opposite of what Jesus says here. We are con-ditioned to believe that our life does indeed consist in the abundance of the things we possess. This is the age of the upgrade, the search for more, bigger, and better. Yet there is a problem: we actually do need to consume. We do need food, clothes, shelter, education, culture and much else. We do need to make reasonable provision for the future in order to be a minimal burden on others. How do we avoid the legitimate need to consume amidst a culture of consumerism?
The parable of the rich fool is triggered by someone in the crowd trying to get Jesus to arbitrate over an inheritance dispute. Jesus wisely declines. Perhaps the person has a legitimate case, but Jesus discerns a greedy attitude and refuses to get involved. It prompts him to point out the foolishness of putting trust in the search for security through possessions. Moreover, he points out that this can even be a kind of poverty. Life is precarious; nothing is guaranteed. Being “rich to-wards God” is what counts (21). This is the God who reckons every human being to be worth more than many sparrows and who does not forget us but knows the hairs on our head (6, 7). This God can be trusted with our anxieties and can provide all that we need – and more. He is our Father, and he knows how to give good gifts (Luke 11:11–13). What more do we need than a loving Father to whom the whole earth belongs?
These sobering words of Jesus should prompt us to take stock of our attachment to things. How much do we really need? How can we be truly rich?
Take some moments to express gratitude to God. Surrender everything.
Father in heaven, we Your children look to You to provide everything that we need to function in this life as we continue to serve You.
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