Summary: Jesus' exposes the greed in our hearts. Only he can bring us the real riches that last, our heavenly inheritance.
Text: Luke 12:13-21
Theme: Enrich your Life in God
A. Greed robs you
B. Only God's barn endures
Season: Pentecost 11c
Date: August 8, 2010
Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/Enrich-your-Life-in-God-Luke12_13-21.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which Jesus speaks to us is recorded in Luke 12
"Then someone from the crowd said to [Jesus], "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
"He said, "Man, who placed me as a judge or arbitrator over you?" Then he said to them, "Watch out and guard yourselves from all kinds of greed, because even when someone has a lot his life is not about what he has."
"He told a parable to them, "The field of some rich man produced a good harvest. He reckoned to himself, 'What should I do, since I do not have a place where I can gather together my harvest?' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. There I'll gather together all the grain and my good things. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many good things laid away for many years. Take it easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself."' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is demanded back from you. Who will get what you have prepared?' In the same way is he who treasures up things for himself but is not rich in God."
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
Estimates ranged from between one to five million dollars. That's the price tag some have tried to guess for Chelsea Clinton's wedding last weekend. We love to criticize how the rich spend their money. Do you remember when the auto industry CEOs flew into Washington on their corporate jets to ask for a bailout? Or look how much money flows into election campaigns, often from the candidate's own private wealth, millions and millions. There's plenty of criticism about the left or the right, whether it's the Clinton wedding or Rush Limbaugh's private Gulfstream jet. Don't you know how many problems could be solved if they would just spend their money the way I want them to?
Besides the obvious that it's not my money and even if it were I would not prove to be as wise a manager as I imagine, there is a deeper problem here. Do we criticize the rich to cover up our own hearts? Does focusing on their supposed misuse make us feel justified in our attitude toward money? Are we trying to deflect examining ourselves so that we can continue on our own merry way?
Jesus' parable rips off our mask and calls on us to examine our own hearts before it's too late. Ask yourself what kind of barns are you building? What kind of riches are you storing up? What's the harvest you're looking forward to?
Don't deceive yourself. Rather enrich your life in God. That's the theme to take to heart today. Greed wants to rob you of that, but in the end only God's barn endures. So, dear friends, enrich your life in God.
A. Greed robs you
1. Describe what's all included in greed.
"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed" (Luke 12:15 NIV), Jesus warns you and me. The Greek word for /greed/ has the same root as the word for /more/. Greed longs for more. Whether you already have a lot or barely enough, greed looks for more. It's a bottomless pit. No matter how much you throw in, greed hungers for more.
Notice how Jesus says "all kinds of greed." It's not only greed for money, but also for what money can get you: stuff, status, security, satisfaction. It includes the miserly Scrooge fingering his pennies and the spendthrift continually buying more. And anything in between, any degree of greed, any level, is included as well. "All kinds of greed," Jesus says.
But there's more. And here we need to pay close attention so as not to deceive ourselves. Greed does not always make us feel that we have to get more. Sometimes the greedy heart feels satisfied and even content with what we've already accumulated. The greedy fool in the parable was satisfied with his final harvest, wasn't he? But even if greed isn't wanting more at the moment, it does love what we already have. For you see, greed is not a matter of the pocketbook but of the heart. It's a love of having. Think about that. If you love what you have, you're guilty of a greed, even if you don't want more at the moment. Greed is a love of having. "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed" (Luke 12:15 NIV).