Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rich Towards Man or God? - June 23rd, 2011

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 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. 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.”’ 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?’
 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Luke 12:16-21

History and Context:
Of the four Gospel writers, Luke is believed to be the only not to have personally been with Jesus. Matthew and John were of course members of the twelve, and Mark was believed to have been a young boy that spent time with Jesus, but Luke is nowhere to be seen in the ministry of Christ. Luke was also the only one of the four who wa not a Jew, He was a Greco-Syrian physician who lived in the Greek city of Antioch. So what makes him qualified to write a book (actually two) in the New Testament? As seen in the book of Acts (also written by Luke) he travelled extensively with the Apostles. He was a physician and meticulously took down the details of the life of Christ and studied the works which were already written (probably including Mark and Matthew) then put it together for a very detailed account of the ministry of Christ. Many theologians regard Luke as a true historian.

The Text:
As noted in the first sentence, this was a parable spoken by Jesus. It was in response to someone in the crowd asking Jesus to, "... tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." Jesus responded by saying that our lives do not simply consist of what we own and told this parable as an example of what he was meaning. This parable shows the absurdity of trusting in earth's riches because when we die, they will not come with us. So many people spend their entire life building "bigger storehouses" then they leave this life and all they were known for was rich, or a savvy businessman, but what true difference did they make? What use was their riches? Jesus never shares with us what the man should have done, He simply goes on to share with us that we do not need to worry about our clothing and our food, because God will provide it. When we look at the whole message of Jesus, and of the Bible, the point seems to be that this man was trusting in the riches that he had, and was basking in the comfort of them, but God would have rather him use them for the good of others. Our decisions should not be based on comfort or safety, but on the good of all men. Our trust should not be in riches, but in God. We should not lay up treasure for ourselves, but make ourselves rich in God.

The Challenge:
What have you been desiring to do, but comfort has kept you from doing it? What has God been leading you to, but a worry about your future has held you back? Have you been trusting God or your job? Have you let worry about the economy, or the job market, keep you from God's will in your life? Some of you reading this have immediately thought of one thing that you have put off for one of these reasons. Your challenge is to stop putting it off, take that step of faith, walk out onto the water, even if you sink Jesus has promised to pull you up and continue to walk with you! Others of you may not immediately think of something, so just take this in prayer, ask God if there is anything you should be doing but are not. Keep this in mind next time God leads you to do something that involves risk. Remember, "(...) without faith it is impossible to please [God] (...)" (Hebrews 11:6)

The Prayer:
Lord, you are my provider, my sustenance. You are the one that I trust. Help me to follow you in everything, no matter the risk! I trust you to provide what I need and I will take that step of faith. Thank you Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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