Summary: Storing treasures in heaven is when you've really got it made.
Verse one of Luke 12 tells us that many thousands of people had gathered in an open area to hear Christ. Can you imagine how quiet, how deathly still it must have been in order for those present to hear Christ?
The Lie of Greed
When there was a lull after He had been teaching some very heavy things, there came a voice from the crowd saying, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." Jesus said, "Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbiter over you?" He said, "That's not My business what you do with your stuff and your brother, but you are My business. I want to warn you to take careful heed. Beware of greed. Watch out for greed in all of its areas, for greed is destructive."
He tells you why to beware of greed. It's because greed tells a great, big, gigantic lie. That lie is that life consists in the abundance of things possessed. Greed is a serious thing. Yet, in our way of life, we've almost made it an honorable thing. Just like we get too careless with the worst sin of all ... the sin of pride ... we also get to careless with handling the sin of greed.
Michael, Milken, was one of the most brilliant minds in the financial world of Wall Street. He perceived and put into mechanism the financial process that later became known as junk bonds. In a magazine interview, he was reported to have said, "I love greed. Greed is the secret of my success. Greed is what makes America work."
Jesus Christ said, "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed..." It lies to you. It tells you that life consists in the abundance of things possessed.
We'd better camp out with that line a little bit, shouldn't we? After all, do we really believe that life does not consist in the abundance of things possessed? Isn't that the way we measure ourselves? When you say, "What is man worth?" we answer in terms of dollars. But very clearly a man ... made in the image of God,
a creature of eternity which will live somewhere throughout all eternity ... is worth more than anything else God made in Genesis 1 and 2.
We talk about standards of living that have nothing to do with standards or living because we have believed the lie that life consists in the abundance of things possessed. Jesus says it doesn't. Beware. Be on your guard. Don't let greed get into your mind because if you do, you will believe the lie.
Some Questions Raised
There are some questions, aren't there? If life does not consist in the abundance of things possessed, of what does life consist? What about Jesus and all of His wealthy friends? Is it wrong to be successful? Is it spiritual to be unsuccessful? What about all the good that can be done with the material wealth of this world?
More needs to be said, so Jesus told more in a parable. He said, "There was this man who was in agri-business, the most respected business of his day."
We read in the New Testament that people of Jesus' race who were overrun by the Romans had very few opportunities for wealth. One of those was to become a tax collector for the Roman government and become known as an unpatriotic person involved in graft and illicit tax affairs. The other way to become wealthy was to become a farmer, and the most respected and hard-working, powerful people of Jesus' day were people in agri-business. Here was one of these men. He was one of the most respected people, probably, in his community. He controlled the lives of the people who worked for him. He was responsible not only for their wages and way of living but also for their food.
In a particular year, things came together just right in the providence of God.
Just as fields had been plowed, the rains came. They fell softly and saturated the earth, making it rich and ready for the seeds. When the seeds were planted, the rain came just right again. The winds blew as the plants were growing, and the cross-pollination took place, but the winds were not so strong as to damage and destroy the crop. The sun shone and ripened the crop. The man looked out on the rolling acres of unweighable grain, representing uncountable gold, and he said, "This is going to be a great crop."
Now people, take notice. This may be the only time in history that you'll ever hear a farmer saying that he's having a good year. But this man said, "I've got this wonderful crop coming in. I've got it made. I am rich. I will build bigger barns to store this fantastic crop. I will be able to take care of myself forever. I will be at ease to eat, drink and be merry. I won't have to worry about anything else anymore except how to be comfortable and free of pain. That's what I shall live for the rest of my days."