Summary: Pentecost 11(C) - People must guard against all greed because all too many trust only in earthly riches. Believers guard against greed by being rich toward God.
GUARD AGAINST GREED
August 20. 2006 - PENTECOST 11 - Luke 12:13-21
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Dear Friends in Christ and Saints in the Lord:
The very first thing we want to remember this morning is that God is not unhappy with those who are wealthy. Having lots of money is not a sin. To be wealthy and rich does not oppose any of God’s laws. In fact for the believer we realize this can be a great blessing if it would be according to God’s will to make someone wealthy. Our text reminds us as also do all of our lessons that fit together today. We are reminded that our trust and confidence is not in ourselves, our riches or our wealth but in God who provides. Again, wealth and prosperity is not a sin and is not wrong. God does not dwell upon it. But over and over again, Scripture warns everyone, because of our sinful nature, to be careful. God says to guard against all kinds of greed. We know those words from Timothy: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:9). There is the warning: Guard against the love of money, not money, but the love of money, against all kinds of greed. This is what is told us this morning in our text. Our theme will be:
GUARD AGAINST GREED.
I. Too many trust only in earthly riches.
II. We will want to be rich toward God.
I. TOO MANY TRUST ONLY IN EARTHLY RICHES
Let’s start with the parable that Jesus taught. Jesus wanted that parable to stay in the minds of these people and in our minds, reminding us how easy it is to get caught up putting trust in earthly possessions. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Notice the change here. "And Jesus told them this parable: ’The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, "What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops?’" Jesus, of course, chose his words very carefully. The Gospel writer Luke puts them down very carefully. The original has it in that proper order, very carefully. In verse 16: The ground produced a good crop. We understand that God blessed the ground and the good crop for this rich man. In verse 17: The rich man thinks to himself: "What should I do with my crop?" He did not see the good crop produced by the ground as a blessing that God had provided. Instead, the rich man thought to himself selfishly, "Look what I have done. Look at the crop I brought in and what shall I do?" Jesus was indicating the thoughts of this man and how he was tainted by the temptations of possessions.
The rest of the parable is familiar: "Then he said, ’This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.’" So he was so proud that he was not just going to add on, but tear down the old and build anew. After all, in his eyes he was successful, as he thought and imagined. So that was what he was planning to do. Even though he had already forgotten that it was the ground that God blessed with a good crop. He was stuck on himself and had lots of plans for himself and says: "And I’ll say to myself (The original has, "I’ll say to my soul"), ’You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’" So with that one good crop the ground had produced he thought would provide him for many years. There was nothing to do but take life easy, eat, drink and be merry. That was his plan. The plans of men are not always God’s plan. The plan of this man, to put trust and confidence in his earthly possessions, was certainly not what God wanted for him or for anyone.
We come near the end of this parable: "But God said to him, ’You fool! (Strong language. The Lord says in other places to not call anyone a fool or you will be in danger of judgment.) Jesus uses that word here, because the rich man is indeed in danger of judgment. This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’" The man wanted to build bigger barns, bigger storage for himself and his crops and his goods. He doesn’t get that far. All of his plans come to nothing. Someone else will now get all of that that he cherished and treasured in his heart so much. Too many trust only in earthly riches.