Summary: Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. This sermon helps discover that what others consider blessings may actually be under a curse. Also a view point on the desires of the heart.
There was a rich, miserly, old man whose money was his God. He never cared about others, only himself. Every day he would check on his investments and his bank account. He would glow with joy over his wealth.
One day, while sitting in his chair, he had a heart attack. He was told that his heart had stopped beating twice but he had been resuscitated. It was then that reality gave him a wake up call. He remembered as a child going to church with his parents and being taught about God. He realized that soon he may be facing him.
He sought a local pastor for counseling. He confessed he never had any time for God. He confessed he had never given one cent of his money to God. In anguish over his final destination he was seeking a way to make restitution for his sinful ways.
The pastor set there and stared, trying to gather his thoughts on helping this wretch in his dilemma. Should he use the Roman Road to redemption? Or perhaps the bridge example?
Before he could respond the old miser leaned in and asked, “How about if I give your church every cent I’ve got? Will that do it; will that guarantee I’ll go to heaven when I die–-if I give my entire fortune to you?"
The Pastor paused a moment, then replied, "Well, it’s worth a try!"
Today we are going to venture on the road as Jesus teaches on giving and greed. Giving was one of Jesus’ favorite subjects. He constantly talked about giving to those in need and giving to God. Giving to those in need is evident. We see a need, we meet the need. But giving to God becomes an issue for some people. How do we give our finances to God?
Let’s read Malachi 3:8-10. “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!
“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”
In these verses we see a clear directive from God that we are to bring an offering to him. In the Old Testament it was a food offering. Why would God need food? It was so that the temple priests who were not allowed to have any other jobs would have food to eat. The temple priests were starving from the lack of offerings. Because of the people’s lack of giving God said they were under a curse.
Today God still expects us to give. Instead of a temple we have the church. Instead of having a need for food we have a need to pay our bills. If people do not give the bills do not get paid. If the bills do not get paid the church will close. It is estimated that this happens to 7000 churches every year. As I have said before, God does not need your money. This church however does. And here is the scary part. If you are not giving, then you are living under a curse. Not my words. They are His.
So in Luke 12 we find Jesus speaking against the religious rulers. He warns of their hypocrisy. He warns that whatever has been said or done in the darkness would eventually be displayed in the light. He warns them that they are not to fear man but rather God.
Then He begins to reveal God’s love for them. He says that God’s love is so great that He keeps his eye on the sparrows. He tells them that God is so involved with the details of their lives that He knows how many hairs are on their head.
But they are required to acknowledge who Jesus is. And they are not to reject the coming Holy Spirit because it is the Spirit that will give them the proper words at the proper time. It’s in the midst of this teaching that Jesus gets interrupted.
The interruption Luke 12:13 “Then someone called from the crowd, ‘Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.’”
This was not an unusual event. Teachers, or Rabbis as they were called, were often called upon to settle civil court situations. They were experts in God’s law so whatever ruling they would make would be considered divine. If Jesus was to rule on this man’s behalf, then the brother would be obligated to follow through with the ruling. But Jesus could see into the man’s heart.