“Beware and be on guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Those are the words of Jesus found in Luke 12:15. Someone in the crowd wanted Jesus to do something for him. In Luke 12:16, it says “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
The response from Jesus may not have been what he was hoping to hear. Jesus would then go into a parable. Here are the details of the man in the parable.
1. There was a man who was rich and his land was very productive, verse 16.
2. The man had so many crops that he needed to figure out what to do with all of them, verse 17.
3. He decided to start fresh and build even bigger barns. This is certainly a good problem to have (or at least it seemed to be), verse 18.
4. The man felt satisfied, content, accomplished, and good. He had done so much and now he was set for life. What could be better than that, verse 19?
5. But there was a problem. This man had only been focused on his success, current situation, and riches. He failed to consider the bigger picture. His soul! God said, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” Verse 20. Surely, this was not what the man had in mind. All the hard work, all of the focus on his riches, and now it was about to be over.
6. The conclusion: While this man may have been rich physically, he was not rich toward God. He was a poor rich man, verse 21.
This is a scary parable. As we think about this parable, there are a couple of thoughts that should come to mind.
1. It’s not sinful to be rich. Great men like Abraham were rich. Job was rich. Many of the saints in the first century were rich, 1 Timothy 6.
2. The parable is certainly a warning for us. It was a warning for the man who spoke to Jesus about telling his brother to dividing up his family inheritance. Jesus knew what was in this man’s heart. He was warning him about covetousness. The fact he says “Beware” and “Be on guard” is powerful. He gives him two warnings about this. We should also take heed.
3. The challenge for this man was he was not focused on what was more important: eternity. What’s interesting is that in the law there were instructions about inheritances, Deuteronomy 21:15-17;Numbers 27:8-11. It appears that this man’s brother was the one who rightly should have received this inheritance.
4. As we look at our lives, we should not measure our success by how much we possess. Our success is not based upon our bank account, our FICO score, or anything else with respect to finances. Rather, we need to see if are storing up treasures in heaven.
5. We don’t have as much control as we think we do. This man had it all laid out exactly what he was going to do. Only to die! God is ultimately in control. We are not.
6. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of money and possessions. Let’s be sure we guard our hearts and keep our eyes on the big picture: heaven.
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Have a great day! Remember that Jesus loves you.