Saturday, April 16, 2016

Riches toward God


13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21)[1]

In the occasion of a man calling out to Christ about his dispute with his brother this is Christ's response and it is rich with meaning.
Verse 21 struck me, in light of the truth that one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.  It reads, ‘
So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God’ – A fool...
Oh, how often we find ourselves in the way of a fool!

And what made him a fool?
It's what he planned to do which was bad. Verse 19 says, ‘
And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” 

Here we see the motive and at first glance it is not so evil. He didn't plan on taking his wealth and burdening others over it. He only looked at it, and considered it his. He made his plans in exclusion of God. He failed to acknowledge Him to whom he owed it all. In the very first verse we see him described as, 'a certain rich man'.  His pattern was established, God had blessed him with fertile ground and many fertile growing seasons, yet he did not pay God even a passing compliment.

What could he have done?

He could have given his wealth and been rich toward God as the Rich Young Ruler was told to do (Luke 18:18-23). This does not mean that to give it all away is some automatic work to get you in the door.

Salvation is not measured in money. Rather, what a man does do with his wealth is a measure of his love for God. Does he do anything for the kingdom?  

Salvation is a gift of God, often it is said to be free, but it is not really free. It took the very Son of God to become the Son of man, keeping the law we broke by living in perfect harmony with it, and taking our punishment by dying on the cross. By all this we are saved. So salvation is not free but it is freely offered to all though most (being dead in their sins) will not come. This rich man never gave a second thought to the God Who blessed him with years of perfect crops.

The measure of our love toward our God is this: How freely do you offer forgiveness to those who have wronged you? How loosely do you hold on to the blessings he gave to you? And this is how love, God's love, is shown to a lost world.

How are you doing? Feeling stingy with that which God freely gave you?
Consider that, and consider the cross. It is easy to be generous to others when we see how generous He has been to us. It is far easier to forgive others their petty faults when you look at what your sin did to the Savior on Calvary.

Amen




[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Lk 12:13–21.

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