I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. -Martin Luther*
We’re continuing our look at the influence of money from Luke 12. In the last blog (Need or Greed?) we talked about Jesus’ warning against pursuing wealth and the power money has to blind us.
1. The accumulation of wealth is deceptive
In the parable about the rich man (Luke 12:15-21), the man stored up wealth for years to come. He then rested, and said it was time to eat, drink and be merry. But on that very night, his life was taken. All of his wealth could not protect him or provide security beyond the grave. From this, we learn that the accumulation of wealth is deceiving. Wealth can breed an attitude of self-reliance: “I have all this now – what shall I do with it?” Wealth can breed an attitude of pride: “Look at all I have stored up!” Wealth can breed a false sense of security: “Soul, look at all I have laid up and relax!” Wealth can breed an attitude of self-indulgence or entitlement.
2. Wealth is fleeting
God said to the rich man, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you” (Luke 12:19-21). Wealth will come to an end by death, a stock market crash, a housing crisis, a change in oil prices, or by whatever means. Although this world seems permanent, it is fleeting. We are like grass, green one day and gone the next (Psalm 103:15).
3. We need to get a perspective of earthly and heavenly wealth
There is more to life than the physical needs of food and clothing:
“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” Luke 12:23
God is the provider. We are more important than the birds, yet look at how God provides for them:
“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!…But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you?” Luke 12:24, 28
To worry or strive is futile, and actually an issue of faith:
“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?…But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!” Luke 12:25, 28
The world seeks comfort and security through meeting physical needs, but we do not need to because God knows what we need:
“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.” Luke 12:29-30
Seek Him first and He will take care of the rest:
“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Luke 12:31
Look at wealth from an eternal perspective:
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.” Luke 12:32-33
Where or how we spend our money is a good indication of where our heart is:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
Be about kingdom business, not our own or the world’s. Those who profess to follow Jesus walk a different way, by faith:
“The man of pseudo faith will fight for his verbal creed but refuse to allow himself to get into a predicament where his future must depend upon that creed being true. He always provides himself with secondary ways of escape so he will have a way out if the roof caves in. What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must on the last day.” -A.W. Tozer
Jesus’ parable about money is to all of us:
Peter said, “Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Luke 12:41-43
It is important for us to consider the role wealth plays in our lives and the influence it has, whether we are rich or poor. We can ask the Spirit of God to search our hearts and reveal hidden greed or covetousness. We can ask our spouse or a trusted friend to list our treasures based on what they see in our lives. This is radical, but it will take radical steps to free us from the influence of wealth.
*Martin Luther – Born in Germany in the late 15th century, he was steeped in Catholicism and was an Augustine friar. He became disillusioned with some of the practices of the church as God spoke to him of grace. He was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation.