Summary: We face price tag moments all the time in everyday life, we’re constantly doing cost-benefit analysis, always asking the question: “is it worth it?”. Because we live in a consumer world and we’re being constantly bombarded: buy this, buy that. And we weig
Luke 12: 16-21
You’re in Parks Mall or Irving Mall, shopping away, your going from store to store browsing at stuff. Finally something really catches your eye. You’re excited about it, you hold it, you want it. Only one final hurdle remains—the price. So you reach down for that postage stamp size tag dangling from the treasure in your hands. This is it, the price tag moment. Numbers come into focus—is it that much? 50% more than you guessed, 100% more than you can afford, and 200% more than you need to spend on this kind of thing. But still you stand there making your decision: to buy or not to buy. And you ask the question: “Is it worth it?”
We face price tag moments all the time in everyday life, we’re constantly doing cost-benefit analysis, always asking the question: “is it worth it?”. Because we live in a consumer world and we’re being constantly bombarded: buy this, buy that. And we weigh up the values, and we make our choices, one price tag moment after another.
I. Warnings from Jesus
• Into this consumer world Jesus asks his own price tag question: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?’ (Luke 9:25)
• A recent survey asked people what they’d do for $10 million dollars
o 25% said that they’d abandon their families
o 23% said they’d be a prostitute for one week
o 16% said they’d leave their spouse
o 3% said they’d put their kids up for adoption.
• They eyed up the money, they had their price tag moment, they did their math, and said “Yep, that would be worth it”.
o But into their greedy world comes the voice of Jesus, challenging their upside down priorities, calling them to take a closer look at the price tags and work out what’s really valuable.
o Jesus says to them, “Watch out!
o Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”.
• Greed affects us all in one way or another.
o Greed is a huge blind spot for people like you and I because it’s the most socially accepted sin in our culture.
o A movie in 1987 featured the famous line “Greed is good”.
o And that’s the motto of our society.
o Australian entrepreneur Rene Rivkin put it this way: “he who dies with the most toys wins”.
o And that’s exactly how most people are living their lives.
• Here comes the voice of Jesus again, to the man who’s building his bigger barns, to the person who reckons life’s about gathering toys, “You fool, this very night your soul will be required of you” (Luke 12:20).
o You’ve read the price tags all wrong.
o He who dies with the most toys, still dies and, as you stand before God’s throne of judgment, he puts a zero value on the material things you’ve chased.
o You should’ve looked closer at the price tags.
o And worked out what’s really valuable.
• Greed affects everyone, definitely not just the rich.
o Just have a close look at the lottery line down at the corner store.
o People convinced that more money would solve every problem and meet every longing in their life.
o Greed motivates us all—to earn more than we need, to own more than we can use yet still ache for more.
o Because of greed: we muck up the price tag moments.
o Not just the little decisions but the biggest one of all.
o Because we exchange the Creator for created things and we swap eternity for things that don’t last.
o And Jesus’ warnings against greed couldn’t be stronger. “What profit is it?” he asks.
o “Watch out” he calls.
o “You fool” he rebukes.
o And then he says this: “no-one can serve both God and money”.
o Money is the biggest rival god there is: God or money –you can’t sit on the fence (Luke 16:13).
o You can’t serve both God and money: we hear it from Jesus, and now we meet it in person.
II. Getting the Price-tags Wrong
• It’s the man we meet in Luke 18:18.
• This guy comes to Jesus with a question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”.
• This guy’s a first century yuppie—drives a Porsche, carries the latest high tech cell phone, wears Italian suits.
• And what does the guy with everything want?
• He’s got the fortune, he’s got the status, but eternal life – that would definitely top things off.
• Does he really know what he’s asking?
• And that Jesus is going to ask him some questions of his own?