Summary: Disciple needed to learn the lesson that life is more important than material things. They must learn not to be diverted from their commitment to Jesus by greed for wealth & material possessions. True riches & satisfaction come only from God.
LUKE 12: [13-] 16-21. [PARABLES IN LUKE]
A FOOL AND HIS RICHES
[1 Timothy 6:6–10]
AMERICA has been assured by its political leaders that ours is the highest standard of living in the World. We have the most wealth that men have ever known. Everywhere there are supermarkets overflowing with food and other items. Everywhere are huge stores crammed with merchandise of all kinds surrounded by expansive parking lots. We have superhighways clogged with expensive vehicles to transport us. Where there is navigable water we find large marinas filled with luxurious boats of all types. We are told that we have more TVs, more cell phones, more computers, more elevators, more air conditioning, more private and commercial planes that any people on earth.
Into such a civilization the Son of God comes to speak ancient words of eternal wisdom. “A man’s life does consist in the abundance of his possessions” (12:15). Jesus’ statement was prompted by a dispute between brothers over an inheritance. The desire for money was creating a huge problem for this family. So Jesus’ points out that life does not consist in having many possessions.
Greed constitutes a great obstacle to spiritual growth [Bock, Darrell. The IVP NT Com. Luke. Inter Varsity Press, Dover Grove, IL. p. 224]. Covetousness puts spiritual blinders on people causing them to see only “stuff.” The disciples needed to learn the lesson that life is more important than material things. Jesus’ disciples therefore must learn not to be diverted from their commitment to Jesus by greed for wealth and material possessions (CIT).
We must avoid the tyranny of things, for what people own will not supply true peace and joy. True riches and satisfaction come only from God.
I. STUFF DEMANDED 13-15.
II. STUFF DEPOSITED / RECEIVED, 16-19.
III. STUFF’S DISPOSAL, 20-21.
In the middle of Jesus’ teachings about life in the kingdom, someone interrupts in verse 13 with a request to settle a family dispute and divide an inheritance. “Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
A disgruntled attendee in the crowd appeals to Jesus as the teacher, since he wanted Jesus to instruct his brother to divide up the inheritance which was due him in an equitable way. [Likely the reference is to the double-portion allotted to the firstborn son.] Apparently the regulations for inheritance cases (Num. 27:1-11; Deut. 21:15-17) were not being followed, in the opinion of the younger brother, who must wait on the older to share the family wealth. [These matters were often settled in the synagogue.]
In verse 14 we find that Jesus, the great reconciler of people, would not take up his case. “But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”
Although ministry can all too often become mired in an attempt to right perceived wrongs, Jesus wisely said, “This is not My area of concern.” Jesus mission was too urgent, too important to be diverted to issues other men could settle. Jesus came to reconcile us to God and to each other, and not to reapportion wealth[, nor to reinforce our own views of justice].