Summary: The parable of the rich fool
27. Who is Jesus?
March 06th, 2010
The Rich Fool
Jesus has been putting the religious leaders in their place. As a result crowds have gathered by the thousands. These people have been trampling over each other trying to get to Jesus. While Jesus is teaching about hell someone in the crowd asks Him a question. His question has to deal with money. What does that have to do with hell? Hell will be place where people will constantly talk about money. Now we don’t talk about money often, we go through pain staking efforts to make sure that we don’t come across like one of those places that always has their hands out asking for money because life is not about money it is about Jesus. Our rule is: if the Bible talks about we are going to talk about. Jesus spends a great deal of time talking about money. About 25% of Jesus teaching is in relation to wealth and possessions.
As we seek to understand who Jesus is so that we can learn to be like Him a part of that is going to include seeing money from Jesus perspective. The way the world deals with money is to blame others. I don’t have it and it is your fault. I don’t have as much as I would like and it’s your fault. Rich people blame social security and welfare for their problems, poor people blame the rich cheating them out of money, but no one takes responsibility. We live in a culture with zero accountability. Our culture often affects how we view money in our relationship with God.
Some people take the view of prosperity and say God wants you to be rich. They take certain Scriptures out of context to make the point: if you really are a Christian then God will make you happy, wealthy, successful, and blessed. You just have to call on the promises of God and He will give you whatever you ask for. So all the poor starving children in Africa are really just Godless heathens living in sin because if they really believed in God they would be driving around in Mercedes not searching for a meal in trash cans. This Donald Trump view of Scripture is wrong.
A second group promotes a poverty stance. Being a good Christians means you cant have money, you cant be wealthy, and you cant really enjoy life. Their idea is that the entirety of the Christian life should be summed up by sacrifice and suffering. This is Ghandi’s Bible. It is also wrong.
When Jesus talks about money He addresses the heart and motivation. The Christian life is not synonymous with poverty. It is also not about wealth. Being like Jesus has nothing to do with how much money you have. Being rich doesn’t make you a sinner. Being poor does not make you saint. Sinners are people who put money before God. Saints are people who put God before money. Look at Barnabas in the book of Acts. The guy had a lot of land. He was a rich dude and he was a Christian. When someone had a need Barnabas would sell his possessions and give the money to the apostles so they could meet the need. He had wealth and Jesus. A Biblical view of money is not about how much you have, but what you do with it.
Lk 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Lk 12:14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Lk 12:15 Then he 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.”
So this guy has money issues and he is like the world is blaming someone else for them. It’s not my fault Jesus my brother is cheating me out of my inheritance, please make him stop. His cultural view of money is now affecting his connection to Jesus. Instead of hearing Jesus and learning to be like Him this guy wants Jesus to resolve his family dispute. It was common for rabbis to be asked to judge civil matters because the Jews didn’t separate church and state like we do. Having religious authority would be the same as having legal authority on civil matters. Which is kind of cool, all they let us do is perform weddings. So this guy is trying to start the 11:00 episode of Judge Jesus.
Jesus does not actually have legal authority on this matter. He is not officially a part of the religious-political system. He does however have divine authority and the power of popularity on His side. So Jesus could very easily weigh in on this situation and force His decision on this family.