Summary: Whatever you have, learn to be content with what God has entrusted to you. Remember, it isn’t wrong to earn more to live in security and provide for your family. It is the love of money that is dangerous. It is the constant pursuit of the good life tha
The Good Life, Luke 12:13-21
By the time I met my father in law he had been a used car salesman for more than thirty years. For the bulk of that he owned a buy here pay here lot. He could always get a great deal from him, but you just had to know that any car you got from “Big John” was likely to be uniquely equipped.
My wife and her brother tell stories of their first cars. My wife once drove a car off of his used car light with no headlights. So her father gave her a really big flashlight and told her to hold it out of the window with one hand and drive with the other.
Another time he gave my wife’s aunt a Cadillac that had an electrical problem with the power windows and as she drove through a tropical storm in Florida the drivers and passengers side windows and the moon roof just kept going up and down uncontrollably. No matter what she did with the controls it didn’t matter. She got soaked!
A few years ago when my wife and I had moved to Florida, she and I bought an old fixer upper house near the beach in Tarpon Springs. There was a lot of work to be done on that house and I needed something to haul away old debris and yard trimmings. So, my father in law gave me a little green Ford Ranger pickup truck for free.
He lived about 40 miles from us so one day I and a friend from the church drove over to Zephyrhills to pick up the truck. My friend drove my car back to Tarpon Springs and I drove the truck back.
The truck had 4 wheel drive and for a 15 year old vehicle the truck appeared to be in really good shape. As I drove the 40 miles back home though, I noticed that the steering wheel was really shaky once the speed went over about 30 miles an hour.
After I had driven about half way back I realized that the front wheels were shaking noticeably as I looked out the window down at them. I drove pretty slowly back and then when pulled into the driveway of my old house I got stuck on the curb. I gave the truck more and more gas but it didn’t go anywhere.
Finally I gave it a bunch of gas and much to my alarm, the left front wheel fell off!
I called a repair garage that came to my house, picked up the truck, and repaired it. Apparently the 4 wheel drive gears had malfunctioned and had caused some problem with the axel which caused my wheel to fall off!
While that is where I would love to end the story of my little yard truck that I would eventually nickname “the beast,” the story doesn’t end there. On my way home from the repair shop in the beast I had the most frightening thing which has ever happened to my while driving happen…
I was driving home traveling north on US Highway 19 which happens to be rated as one of the most dangerous roads in America when, as I gently depressed the brake petal to stop at a stop light, I realized that I had no breaks. I pumped and pumped the brakes and nothing happened.
I ended up bumping the tires into the curb and pumping and pumping the brakes until just before I rear ended a car in front of me the truck slowly rolled to a stop! Luckily the story has a good ending, no one was hurt and as it turns out the brake line had corroded. I had the brake line replaced and used the truck for a couple of years as I re-landscaped the property.
But that day when the brake lines went out and I lost control of the truck it as if the thing I owned, owned me. That’s how it is so often in our lives, the things we hold dear, hold us captive.
Read Luke 12:13-21
The central issue that Jesus is dealing with in this passage is not really money at all. He is dealing with our attitude towards it. In Jewish culture the children had the inheritance divided between them.
The eldest child would receive a double portion while the other children would receive equal parts. Most likely the brother spoken of in the passage is the oldest brother who wanted to keep the entire inheritance for him self.
The older brother in this case was filled with the spirit of covetousness or greed. Rather than grieving over the loss of his father or caring for his siblings, the oldest brother only cared for getting as much as he could for himself.