“One’s life does not consist in …”
Today’s Luke 12 contains some of the most challenging teaching of Jesus – it is as appropriate today as it was then! A crowd surrounded him and
“Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me’” (verse 13).
And that is what people are interested in today – present possessions, and nearly everyone spends much of their time planning to accumulate as much as they can, and find ways to enjoy it.
I take in and meditate on the way Jesus replied to this man,
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (verse 15).
Jesus then tells a parable about a man whose land produced plentiful crops
“and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’” (verse 17).
He had no thought of sharing with the poor, but instead,
“said to himself, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods’” (verse 18);
and he looked forward to having “many years” in which to “relax, eat, drink, (and) be merry” (verse 19). This parable reminds me of the concentrated effort of many today to seek out the best retirement funds!
But what does “God” say?
“Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (verses 20,21).
Paul takes up this principle in his first letter to Timothy and tells him,
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to … set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God … They are to do good, to be rich in good works … thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future …” and to “take hold of that which is truly life” (6:17-19).
Let us read God’s word every day – and then we will fully know what
“one’s life does … consist” of – and this will, Jesus said, “in the age to come” lead to “eternal life” (Luke 18:30).