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.”
Dear God, I’m fascinated by the difference between what Jesus emphasizes as his role in our lives in verse 14 and what Christians seem to see as his role in our lives now. I get so tired of hearing the church complain that we are being mistreated or persecuted by society. First, we have zero idea what real persecution is. Second, if we are being mistreated for legitimately discipling and living out our faith, isn’t that the time we are supposed to double down and show even more love? The guy who approached Jesus in verse 13 wanted both justice and money. Jesus basically told him he was wrong to be concerned about either for himself. He saw the man as greedy, plain and simple. Jesus challenged that greed.
I’ll confess that I’ve felt some questioning in my heart about how much my wife and I are spending on this vacation as compared with what we could be giving to others. In reality, we don’t hold back on giving. I think that, by any measure, we are generous with others. But this trip does seem very self-indulgent. I mentioned this recently to a friend who does not have much money and she did not begrudge us this trip at all. And maybe that’s right.
Father, Holy Spirit, please help me to search my heart and figure out where my greed lies and what I should do about it. Show me how to love others with your love. Show me the needs around me you want me to address. Show me what my role is in the broken relationships in my life.
I pray this through the power of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection,