Greed: An Enemy
Read Luke 12:13-34
As we begin we see brother divided against brother over an inheritance. Whether this prompted Jesus' parable of the wayward son later in Luke 15 or not, this must've been a common issue of the day. And both here and in Jesus' future parable we see at the heart of the issue is an enemy called greed.
Greed at its core is a life of division and worry. A life of mine versus yours. Of course, we believe that if we have enough we will be satisfied, but when have we ever really reached enough?
In Jesus' day, it wasn't a world of provision quite like we know now. For people to have multiple sets of clothing and spare food lying around was something for palaces and kings. In His day the loss of anything, a tunic, a meal or a portion of your inheritance was catastrophic. Today we consider it catastrophic if we don't have as much as our neighbor.
The man asks Jesus to instruct his brother to divide the inheritance with him. But instead of mediating between the two Jesus teaches to beware of greed "in all of its forms." He tells the man, what we often need to hear although our society doesn't agree, "For not even when one has an abundance does the life consist of his possessions." In other words, stop worrying! On the scale of life, you do not equal the things you own. To God, you are far more precious!
Jesus says to guard against greed. As a matter of fact, He says "...every form of greed." You see we can be greedy for money and possessions but also when it comes to our religious position and our "power." Whatever it is, we've got to be careful. Greed has a way of consuming our lives and making us act in very dangerous and unloving ways; ways not fitting for people who serve Jesus.
So what's the answer? Well, God gives us a prescription and it begins first with a promise in verse 32. "Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." God has fully given us his glorious kingdom. With riches like that, what do we have left to want?
Second, comes instruction, "Sell what you have and give alms, provide yourselves with moneybags which do not grow old, a treasure in heaven that does not fail where no thief approaches nor moth destroys." We are to store up for ourselves things with eternal value. We're not to be greedy for earthly things because they fade but what is eternal, is eternal. Sometimes we must break ourselves out of a propensity towards greed by selling what we have, fully trusting in Him alone.
Last but not least, Jesus reminds us that where our treasure is there our heart will be also. He does not say that where your heart is your treasure will follow but rather that treasure always precedes our heart. If our treasure is in heaven our hearts belong to a heavenly kingdom. If our treasure is here on earth then regrettably our hearts belong here just the same.
Questions to Consider:
Do you live in worry and greed?
Do you trust God to provide?
Do you give to those in need?