Luke 12:13-21 (ESV)
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 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.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
An unknown man approached Jesus and asked him for help in settling a family dispute about an inheritance. Instead of getting involved, Jesus warned the man about the danger of greed, the insatiable desire to have more. He told the man to watch out for covetousness because life was never meant to be about possessions. Then he gave the crowd a parable to illustrate the concept. The parable described an extremely wealthy man whose crops were particularly productive for an entire year. His peers would have seen him as quite blessed. Because of his great financial success, the man realized he didn’t even have enough rooms to store all of his crops. So, acting in a way our society would consider wise, he constructed new and bigger buildings to store his grain and all his stuff. He was set for life. He planned to retire and enjoy all his things. As verse 19 says, he planned to “relax, eat, drink, be merry.” There was one glaring problem though. The man had made everything about himself. He never even thought about using his great wealth to be generous toward God and others. God wasn’t impressed with his decision. Instead, the Lord called him a fool.
Just when he was preparing to kick back and enjoy the good life, God said the man’s time was up. In his pursuit of financial freedom, the man made everything about himself and didn’t invest into others. In the parable, we see his self-focus as he emphasizes, “My crops, my barns, my grain and my goods.” Jesus never condemned having money. There is nothing evil about it. The problem emerges when we become selfish with the resources God has graced us with and forget that in the end it all belongs to the Lord. We may be surprised if we carefully consider how many of the disputes, conflicts, battles, and even wars around us are driven by a desire for money. Though money can provide us with stuff in this life, it will be of no benefit to us in the life to come unless we manage it in a way that honors God. How generous are you? Are you using some of the wealth God has given you to invest into your church, advance the gospel, and help others? Remember, we wouldn’t even be saved if God hadn’t “given” us his only Son. Open your hands, your heart, and your wallet, and be generous today.