Summary: How we think of ourselves is a reflection of how we think of God and others.
Title: Who Do You Love? (Encompasses “what” we love, as in inordinate affections for, devotion to and obsessions with things and/or people. What we love reflects who we love.)
Text: Luke 12:13-21
Thesis: How we think of ourselves is a reflection of how we think of God and others.
Sub-Points: Greed is a spiritual disease. It is idolatry. Idolatry evidences itself in many ways… we might think of those ways as side effects.
Jesus condemned the Pharisees’ self-righteous hypocrisy because it blinded them from seeing their own need for repentance and a Savior.
Many Pharisees prided themselves in their strict avoidance of obvious, outward sin. They were quick to make observations and judgments about the sins of others, which is perhaps the primary evidence of Pharisaical behavior. They refused to look inside themselves and acknowledge the presence of inner sin that didn’t fall within the boundaries of their man-made rules. Jesus knew that in spite of their obsession with outward perfection, they were not at all interested in facing up to their own sin and need for grace. (Reference Jesus’ teaching on the cup clean on the outside but filthy on the inside…)
The fact that Jesus pointed this out to them did not settle well. They were quick to dish it out but were not very good at taking it. They were so upset with Jesus that at the end of Luke 11 they had become outright hostile toward Jesus and were bent on trying to bait him into saying something they could use against him. In that context Jesus tells the gathered crowds,
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear!” Jesus went on to speak of the love of God and invited the people to consider matters of faith and make a decision to affirm their faith in the Son of God. Luke 12:4-10
In the context of Jesus speaking of matters of life and death in 12:1-12, a man in the crowd wants to talk about his father’s estate. The man who spoke was more concerned about his estate than his relationship to God or his own brother, so Jesus nailed him.
I. A person who is greedy lets money adversely affect his relationships.
(One side effect of greed is that it adversely affects our relationships.)
Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” 12:13
Interestingly, the context in which Jesus taught the parable of the Rich Fool, the person who instigated the discussion was a poor person who wanted some money. And the parable itself is about a rich person who wanted more mnoney. So it would seem that greed is a spiritual malady that cuts across socio-economic lines. So we may all participate in this story. We may identify with the man who had none and wanted some or we may indentify with the man who had a lot and wanted even more.
The teaching from this parable will likely make everyone in this room squirm a bit.
A. It is unlikely that any of us would like to have less.
Who goes to their employer and says, “Hey! I could really use a good cut in pay.”? Who among us gives no thought to the rise in cost of living and how it whittles away at our bottom line? Who among us is calling up his congressmen suggesting they enact legislation to reduce Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Benefits? (We may wish to cut someone else’s benefits but not our own!)
The man in our story did not want anything less than what was rightfully his. Who wouldn’t?
B. It is likely that we all appear greedy to someone else.
Of course there are those of us who will never inherit a dime and so we roll our eyes at those who fight over an estate. Over the years I have seen just about everything when it comes to in-fighting over an estate.
I have found that just about always, wherever there is a will there will be a war. If there is no war I can assure you there are hard feelings. And it is especially true whenever an estate is used to reward and/or punish the heirs. He got too much. She did not deserve to be included in the will. Daddy must have loved my brother more than me.
My favorite estate story is about a man who had three children. All three children loved their father. But one daughter was especially attentive and able to take her father to the doctor and lived nearby so she could drop in more often than the others. Before he died he named that daughter the executor of his estate and left his entire estate to that daughter… because she had been most attentive to his needs. That daughter, very graciously and without any prompting, acted quickly to divide the estate equally with her brother and sister.