Summary: What is really the purpose of living? Remember God, seek Him, glorify Him and be rich toward God.
Every day of our lives we are being pulled in a number of different directions.
• We have family responsibilities pulling us one way; our work or study pulling us another, and we have our obligations to the church in yet another.
• We are left wondering, “What is really important in life?”
The passage that we are going to examine today in Luke forces us to make a decision about what kind of life do we want – Luke 12:13-24.
• Do we want a life dependent on the things of this world or a life, with no guarantee of any of the world’s wealth, but close to God?
• This parable is very relevant today, because the main priority of many people is to attain enough money to live the good life.
Something happened that led Jesus into telling this parable.
• He was in the middle of a sermon teaching His disciples to honour God and seek Him above all else.
• When he is suddenly interrupted by a man, who is dissatisfied over what he considers to be an unfair division of his father’s estate between himself and his brother.
• This man says (v.13): “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Down through history, we’ve seen many families destroyed over a thing as simple as the distribution of assets; family members suing one another for the share of the inheritances.
• This man really didn’t ask Jesus for a decision on what would be a fair division of the estate, he just demanded, “Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me!”
Jesus did not answer as he was expected to do. In verse 14 he replied, “Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”
• Jesus refuses to be sidetracked from His mission of seeking and saving the lost.
• Instead He went on to make a moral judgement – about the condition of man’s heart, and said nothing about the inheritance.
• Jesus knew that this family quarrel was only a symptom of a greater problem - greed.
• The most important thing is not for him to solve his inheritance problem, but for his heart to be changed.
To be honest, how often have we come to God asking Him to change our situation rather than asking him to change our heart?
• Isn’t it true, that most of the problems we encounter in life are the result of the condition of our heart? We pray, “Lord, change my situation!”
• Perhaps our prayer should be, “God, here is my problem, please change my heart!”
Then in verse 15 Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (v.15)
• The area of danger for this man is greed. It is not about the fair share of inheritance.
• Greed is, “wanting more of what you already have enough of!”
Charles Swindoll pictured it this way: “It’s like a shipwrecked sailor on a life raft in the middle of the ocean. His terrible thirst tempts him to drink the water around him. It makes him thirstier. This causes him to drink even more, which makes him thirstier still. He consumes more and more of the salty water… until, paradoxically, he becomes dehydrated and dies.”
[Charles Swindoll & Ken Gire, “Living Above the Level of Mediocrity.” (Anaheim; Insight for Living, 1994). p.83]
Jesus says, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
• But greed tries to tell us the opposite, that life does consist of what we have, the more the better. Someone says, “The one who dies with the most toys wins.”
• Jesus says this is foolish. And so He warns us by telling us this parable.
• We need to remember God, because life is more than about you and the things you have.
Through this parable, we are reminded of a few things:
(1) Give God the Credit for the Things He Has Done
12:16 “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.” (v.16)
The ground has given him a good crop. It is more than just his efforts; it is more than just his skills. The ground has given him the good harvest.
• Jesus did not condemn this man for being rich. He is rich and we have to give him credit. He has been a good and hardworking farmer. He plans out what he needs to do.
• The sad part is that the farmer looked at his amazing harvest he did not see the hand of God. He saw only his own effort.
How often do you see the hand of God in your life? How often do you see God in your work?