Summary: Money talks, so what does it say about you?
How many times have you viewed the following scene in a movie? An investigator is trying to get some information, but he’s having a hard time getting anyone to talk even though he’s sure they have the information he wants. So he pulls out a $100 bill and waves it around. In a matter of seconds he has the intel he’s looking for. Money talks.
Or what about this scene? A man arrives at a fancy restaurant without a dinner reservation. He’s about to be turned away when he slips the hostess a $100 bill and asks her to look at the reservation book again. She then says something like, “Oh, I see we just had a last minute cancellation. Follow me.” Money talks.
Yes, money talks, so what does it say about you? Your attitude towards money says something about your attitude towards God. It also provides a window of insight into where you might spend eternity. Let’s take a closer look at our Gospel lesson to see what Jesus says our attitude towards money ought to say about us.
The setting of our Gospel lesson from Luke is this: a crowd of many thousands has gathered to listen to Jesus teach (Luke 12:1). When there was a pause in the lesson, a man yelled: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (Luke 12:13). What would you think if the next time I paused in the sermon to gather my thoughts, Brock suddenly yelled out: “Pastor, tell Liam to give me the 10 bucks he owes me!” In my 17 years of serving you no one has ever interrupted a sermon or a Bible study to ask me to settle a family dispute. What was so important to the man in our text that he should interrupt Jesus while he was in the middle of teaching a crowd that would have filled a small stadium? Money. This man felt certain that his brother was cheating him out of the family inheritance and he wanted Jesus to do something about it. Money talks. In this case, it said that this man was more concerned with getting his fair share than keeping the peace in the family. It also said that this man saw Jesus as “muscle” who was useful in his dispute with his brother.
Is that what money would say about us too? Are we so driven by getting our fair share that we would let a dispute about money tear our family apart? And do we see Jesus as nothing more than our servant who should do what we want him to do, rather than seeing him as our Lord whom we are to serve? If so, then listen to Jesus’ response. “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you? Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Lk 12:14, 15).
This man wanted Jesus to judge his brother. Instead Jesus judged him and pointed out a heart that was motivated by greed. How many family disputes would cease if we took an honest look at how we contribute to the problem? Wouldn’t there be more peace if we acknowledged how we often jump to conclusions, or make a big deal out of issues that are really not that serious? God has given you the reason to be so conciliatory—even when money is involved. Jesus would say in the verses right after our text: “…do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (Luke 12:29-33).