Summary: Are you so busy preparing for this life that you have completely forgotten about the next one?


Text: Luke 12:13 – 34

In the short time that Jesus walked upon the earth, He taught many life lessons:

• We should treat others the way that we want to be treated ourselves.

• We should love God, our neighbors, and our enemies.

• We should forgive others just as God has forgiven us.

In this scripture, Jesus teaches three very important life lessons that everyone needs to learn.

It all begins when a person from the crowd calls out for Jesus to help. This man’s father had died, and his older brother was inheriting everything. The man wanted Jesus to act as a judge and order the brother to share the inheritance. Instead, Jesus took advantage of the teachable moment and taught three lessons about life itself.

Life lesson #1: Life is not measured by how much you own. (v. 15)

In 1923, a group of the world’s most successful financiers met at the Edgewater Beach Motel in Chicago. Collectively, these tycoons controlled more wealth than there was in the United States Treasury, and for years newspapers and magazines printed their success stories and urged young people to follow their examples. Here is the rest of the story:

• Charles Schwab – the president of the largest independent steel company – lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life, and died penniless.

• Richard Whitney – the president of the New York Stock Exchange – served time in Sing Sing.

• Albert Fall – the member of the President’s Cabinet – was pardoned from prison so he could die at home.

• Jesse Livermore – the greatest bear in Wall Street – committed suicide.

• Leon Frazer – the president of the Bank of International Settlement – committed suicide.

• Ivar Krueger – the head of the world’s greatest monopoly – committed suicide. (Is This Success? Faith, Prayer, & Tract League)

We could list some modern day examples as well – Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lohan, and Tiger Woods. All of these people learned how to make a fine living, but not one of them learned how to live.

Casting Crowns has a song called American Dream that says it all. The lyrics tell of a man who loses everything because he was too busy trying to accumulate fame and fortune that he thought would make him and his family happy.

All work no play may have made Jack a dull boy

But all work no God has left Jack with a lost soul

But he's moving on full steam

He's chasing the American dream

And he's gonna give his family the finer things

Not this time son I've no time to waste

Maybe tomorrow we'll have time to play

And then he slips into his new BMW

And drives farther and farther and farther away

So He works all day and tries to sleep at night

He says things will get better;

Better in time

And he works and he builds with his own two hands

And he pours all he has in a castle made with sand

But the wind and the rain are comin' crashing in

Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands

His kingdom stands

His American Dream is beginning to seem

More and more like a nightmare

With every passing day

"Daddy, can you come to my game?"

"Oh Baby, please don't work late."

Another wasted weekend

And they are slipping away

'Cause he works all day and lies awake at night

He tells them things will get better

It'll just take a little more time

He used to say, "Whoever dies with the most toys wins"

But if he loses his soul, what has he gained in the end

I'll take a shack on the rock

Over a castle in the sand

Now he works all day and cries alone at night

It's not getting any better

Looks like he's running out of time

'Cause he worked and he built with his own two hands

And he poured all he had in a castle made with sand

But the wind and the rain are coming crashing in

Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands

His kingdom stands

All they really wanted was You

All they really wanted was You

All they really wanted was You

Some of us have lost sight of the prize. It’s not fame and fortune in this life. It’s eternal life with our Lord and Savior. The world may be impressed with fancy clothes, big houses, expensive cars, big screen tvs, and a fat wallet, but what good are any of those things when you die?

Life is not measured by how much you own.

Life lesson #2: A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God. (v. 21)

In Matthew 4 we are told that Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days after his baptism being tempted by the devil. During one of the temptations, satan took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and what they contained. Satan promised to give it all to Jesus if only He would bow down and worship him. Jesus refused and responded by saying, “The scriptures say, you must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.”

In Luke 12, Jesus tells a story about a successful farmer. This man had worked long, hard hours out in the fields, and it had paid off. God blessed him with a bumper crop. As a matter of fact, his crops produced so much that he had to tear down his barns and build bigger ones in order to store it all. The farmer started making plans for the future. “I’ll store up all these crops for myself and I’ll never have to work another day in my life. I can eat, drink, and party all the time.”

But what the farmer didn’t know was that he was about to die. He had made plans for living comfortably in this life, but had forgotten all about making plans for the next life.

There are several stories like this in the scriptures. Do you remember the story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked what he had to do to obtain eternal life? Jesus told the man to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and to come and follow him. The Bible records that the man went away sorrowfully because he loved his possessions more than Jesus.

And what about the story of the rich man and Lazarus? The rich man spent his days in his fancy house eating all the food that he wanted. He had expensive clothing and furniture. He had servants to wait on him hand and foot. He was living it up and enjoying all his things when one day he woke up in hell. He would have traded all his fancy possessions for just one drop of water, but it was too late.

What did these men have in common? They were too focused on having a good time in this life to realize that they had not prepared for the next life. In Matthew 16:26, Jesus said, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”

There is nothing wrong with enjoying this life. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the things that God has blessed you with. But everything is wrong with having so much fun in this life that you forget all about the life to come.

You may be thinking, “I don’t have to worry about that – I don’t HAVE lots of money or fancy things.” The devil offers you the same thing that he did Jesus. “This can be yours if you just forget about God.” Some of you have sold out your relationship with God for a tv set, or seats at a ballgame, or a dinner with your friends.

In verse 21, Jesus said, “A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Just knowing about Jesus is not the same as having a relationship with Him. A relationship requires commitment and sacrifice. In a relationship a person is faithful even if it isn’t convenient. If you had to choose between your tv and a relationship with Jesus what would you choose? What would you choose between your job and Jesus? Ask yourself this question – “Is there anything in my life that I would choose before living a committed life for my Lord?” If there is, Jesus calls you a fool, and you are heading towards eternity without a hope.

Life lesson #3: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and He will give you everything you need. (v. 31)

In the last set of verses, Jesus tells the crowd not to worry about daily necessities. He says that worry accomplishes nothing and that God already knows what you need.

This isn’t an excuse for laziness. Jesus is not saying that you should just lay around the house all day and your dinner will magically appear on your doorstep. What he is saying is that if we are willing to trust God with our daily needs, he will make a way for those needs to be met.

I can tell you story after story about people that have put this promise to the test. A woman that I used to go to church with testified one night that she had gone to bed praying that she would have enough milk for her family’s breakfast the next day. To hear her tell it, there was less than a cup of milk in the jug. But she prayed, and the next morning, she somehow had enough milk for several bowls of cereal and a couple of glasses of milk, and had some left over. I’ve heard Dale Maddy talk about growing up in a large family with very little resources. His mother was a praying woman, and somehow, they always had clean clothes and something to eat. And I’ve lost count of how many stories I’ve heard over the years about a bill that needed to be paid, and someone prayed, and the next day a card or letter arrived with the exact amount that was needed to pay the bill.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and He will give you everything you need.

The farmer in this scripture thought that he was going to take it easy and have a great time for years to come, but he found out too late that he didn’t have what he needed most – a relationship with God.

In closing, I would like to share an illustration with you. (Credited to Francis Chan) I want you to pretend that this rope goes on out the back door, wraps itself around the world 100 times, and goes on out into space. It circles our galaxy 1000 times, moves on across a million other galaxies and continues to go. This rope is a timeline – YOUR timeline. See this red part? This is your time on earth. See all of this? This is eternity, and you will spend it somewhere. Are you so focused on having a good time here (red) that you have forgotten all about this (white)?

I had a friend in grade school named Lisa Hosey. On February 5, 1979, I was getting ready for school just like any other day. The news came on, and the lead story was that Lisa’s house had caught fire during the night and she and her brother and sister were killed. About a week later, we cleaned out Lisa’s desk and found a drawing of a house. It said, “Lisa’s dreamhouse,” and pictured her husband, her kids, and her dog. Lisa was only a sixth grader when she died, but she thought that she would live for years to come. Sadly, her life was cut short and none of those things came to pass.

None of us know how long we have in this life (red). It could be another week, or five, 25, or 50 more years. However long it is, it is nothing compared to eternity (white). You can’t live WITH Jesus in eternity (white) if you don’t live FOR Jesus now (red).

Have you made plans for eternity?

Do you have a committed relationship with God?

(Song: American Dream, by Casting Crowns)