We often discuss the habits and principles for becoming wealthy here at TotalThriver. But if we pursue financial gain with the wrong heart, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. Today we’ll examine the Master’s teachings on wealth, and learn from him the proper attitudes and perspective.
In Luke 12, we read:
13Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18And he said, ‘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. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
The Man’s Heart
I love how Jesus always sees us for what we are. The man in this story asks what might seem to us to be a legitimate question. He wants Jesus to instruct his brother to give him half of his father’s estate. Notice how Jesus goes straight to the heart of this issue: “be on your guard against covetousness.”
The man’s request had little to do estate planning or arbitration and everything to do with his jealousy toward the possessions of his brother. Not only is this a violation of the tenth commandment, but the man has the audacity to imply wrongdoing on the part of his brother. No doubt this did not foster a good relationship between the man and his brother.
Looking out for Number One
Jesus explains the foolishness of pursing wealth with the wrong heart in His usual way: through a parable. The man in the parable had an abundance of wealth, but instead of being thankful to God and praising Him, using the resources to glorify God and help others, the man is solely concerned with his personal comfort. He plans how he will use his resources to bless himself, and unlike wealthy and righteous Job, does not use his riches for the glory and worship of God.
Too late, the man in the parable realizes how temporal worldly riches are. He had the opportunity to use his money to expand the kingdom of God, thereby storing up treasure in heaven. But instead, he sought wealth only for himself and his own security and comfort.
What About You?
Are you like either of these men? Does your heart hold jealousy toward others who have greater riches than you? Do you desire that some of their money be taken from them and given to you? Or, are you like the man in the parable, focused on what you can get for yourself, and indifferent about the kingdom of God and the ways that your money can be used for His glory?
Father God, help us to resist the lies that the world teaches on the value and use of money. Let us seek financial gain honestly, and use it for your purposes and your purposes alone. By your grace, may it be so in my heart and each one who reads these words.