“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” – Luke 12:20-21
Jesus is in the middle of a sermon in Luke 12, when he is suddenly interrupted by a man who is dissatisfied over what he considers to be an unfair division of his father’s estate between himself and his brother. The man says in verse thirteen, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Jesus uses this particular question to address the heart attitude through the Parable of the Rich Fool.
Jesus knew that this family feud over inheritance was only a symptom of a greater problem, greed. Jesus tells him that the most important thing is not for him to solve his inheritance problem but that his heart be changed. But if we are honest, how often have we gone to God asking him to change our situation rather than asking him to change our heart? I would dare say that most of our prayers are that God would solve a problem in our lives.
Then in verse fifteen Jesus uses the occasion as a “teachable moment” and says, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Proverbs 21:26 speaks to this very problem when it says, “Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!” The writer of Ecclesiastes says about the greedy (5:10), “Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!.” But is that not exactly what we think? Greed tries to convince us that life does consist in what we own.
God has promised to take care of all our earthly needs, not all of our wants, but all our needs. In our culture we often confuse the two. Matthew 6:25-34 tells us, ‘‘That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?… “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
- Why is greed a problem? How have you seen examples of greed in your own life?
- Greed puts too much value in things that are temporary. Agree or disagree and why?
- Why might greed be harder to deal with as you get older?
- What is the solution to greed?