Luke 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Here Jesus uses an oddly placed question from a bystander to teach the crowd of listeners about greed and God. It’s obvious where the bystander’s head was while Jesus spoke. Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom of God and eternal life – deep spiritual truths. Yet this guy was worried about… his money.
Of course Jesus’ response was not solely for the instruction of the bystander or the gathered crowd, but for you and me. He confronted the problem of people who are overly concerned about storing up provision at the expense of their relationship to God. Material wealth is great for a short time, but it’s benefits are fleeting. We all die eventually so there is a “shelf life” of sorts with material things. By contrast our relationship with God through Jesus Christ is eternal. It does not end when our mortal life ends.
I think this is why, in the story of Jesus sending out disciples in Luke 10, he told them not to take anything extra on the journey. No money. No extra clothes. No extra food. Nothing but the clothes on their backs and perhaps a walking stick. That’s it. They were asked to be completely dependent on God the Father for everything… and they were not disappointed.
This also reminds me of the words of the Lord’s Prayer “Give us today our daily bread.” The bread of God’s provision is intended to be doled out one day at a time, not stored up for months or years. In a country that teaches us to store up more and more this teaching is difficult. As Americans we don’t want to be dependent on anyone, even God. We want to have our own provision handled well in advance. Ample reserves. Sizable nest-eggs. I understand the logic, particularly from a secular perspective, but the teaching of scripture is in clear contrast. I’m wrestling with this teaching today.
Lord open my mind and spirit to receive your teaching from our passage. Give me grace to depend on you one day at a time. Amen.