Wealth by suchenfz


Luke 12:13-34

       Luke is a good teacher. Good teachers repeat basic lessons. We come
to a passage that for the second time reflects back upon a line in the parable of
the Soils. You recall there were four kinds of soils. The third kind was full of
weeds. So the seed sprouts in the soil but it is chocked out by weeds. The
weeds in this parable are defined by the Lord to be

   And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go
on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and
their fruit does not mature.                           Luke 8:14

       The story of Mary and Martha illustrated the good soil and the weedy soil.
Mary showed careful attention to the word of the Lord, while Martha was
preoccupied by the “cares of life”. Her problem was not that she offered Jesus
hospitality. We saw that she did well in receiving Jesus into her home. Her
problem was that she then became worried and harassed by worries and by
anger at Mary. The weed of overwork was a danger to her spiritual health.
       Now we come to a teaching about the second weed – Riches. Just as the
lack of things, the lack of time, the lack of help can cause us worry, so the
abundance of things could cause us to become complacent and lose interest in
the Word of God.
       This is first illustrated in a parable and then explained in Jesus teaching.
We will look at these in turn.

I. Parable: Riches are not found in things.
       It is interesting that this teaching begins with two brothers. Like Martha
and her sister, this brother was preoccupied by a matter concerning his brother.
He asked Jesus to tell his brother to share his inheritance. He had no doubt
been thinking about whatever unfairness was involved in his father’s will. Maybe
his brother was the oldest and received the most – and he wanted what was
coming to him. He had a wish list written out in his mind.
       Jesus refused this role of estate judge. Rather he took it as a time to
teach about the weed of wealth.

       First he stated a general principle: Luke 12:15
     "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's
life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
       “Oh,” you say, “I know that it is bad to be greedy! I have read the
Christmas Carol and know that I should not be like Mallory or Ebenezer
Scrooge.” Yet when we read this parable, it is not about Ebenezer Scrooge, but
about a farmer and a barn – what could be more peaceable than a farmer and
his barn?
       Read – v. 16-20
        “Take Care.” What strikes us as we read this story is that there I nothing
bad about what this farmer does. Here is a wealthy farmer. He has planted a
good crop and he has reaped an abundant harvest. The barns he uses to shore
his grain are too small. What is he supposed to do? Leave the grain piled on the
ground for the rain to spoil or for wild animals to eat? So he builds better barns.
Then he takes into account what he has accomplished. He has made himself
and his family secure. They have all they will need for the foreseeable future.
His life is a much easier life – because he does not have to worry.
        But it is this quality of innocent accumulation that is the problem. Jesus
did not say, “Take care unless your money bites you!” Or “Take care unless the
gold in your safe falls on your head.” It is rather the secret transformation of the
human heart that occurs when we go from need to abundance. When we had
needs we looked to our work, and to God’s blessing to provide what we need. If
we achieve easy and comfort, we look to our barns, or our bank account, or our
investments to take care of us.
        There is one problem. Your wealth can not guard your life. “Life does
not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

        The story continues. While the man is dreaming the sleep of the happy,
God requires his soul. He dies, in other words.
        What happens then? What good will his barns do him in death? Nothing.
        He has taken care in his life to work for wealth. He has taken care in his
life to make his wealth secure – he built those barns.
        What care has he taken to prepare for death?
        Do you see the deceitfulness of wealth? It is a blessing and a comfort.
Yet it can become the thing we value and attend to most in our lives. However, it
is only a comfort while we live. It dies nothing for us in death.

        Take Care – We need to all follow this command. To you take care that
your security is not in this world?
        We saw the story on Easter Sunday of Job, and how every worldly thing
was taken from him – yet he was not empty – True, he said, “Naked came I from
the womb, and naked shall I return from whence I came?” Or as we say, “You
can’t take it with you.” But Job also was able to say, “I know that my redeemer

        Do you take care of you needs in this life? We should. We can not
always be Mary sitting inactively. Mary was not always inactive. We need to
work and to buy food and pay bills and plan for our retirements. Yet, while all
that goes on, we also need to lay aside wealth for our Eternal Retirement.
        The Rich Fool is an example to avoid -- “So is the one who lays up
treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."
   If the lord called for your soul tonight in your sleep, what would be your
condition? Have you given thought to life after death? Have you received the
Gift of Salvation so you have a home with God? And, have you laid any
investment ahead for your eternal life?
II. Teaching – Life is not found in Things.
        We see in Jesus teaching the dangers of wealth. We see how wealth and
the worry of wealth can choke out the word of God. The cares of Martha and the
riches of the farmer can become a field of weeds. Don’t let it happen!
Read 12: 22-30.
       Life is more than food and clothing.
       We are a good time in Wisconsin to pay attention to this lesson. It is hard
to look at birds and flowers in January. Even the birds are smart enough to go
where it is warm! However, in recent days I have seen Cardinals, sparrows,
robins, morning doves, grackles and sparrows, crows and wood peckers flitting
around my trees and hunting for my worms.
       They do not have to pay a mortgage. They do not have to pay taxes.
They have no driver’s licenses. They simply go out day by day and do their
work. On Monday they were looking for stringy stuff – I guess it was time to build
a next.
       Jesus said that we should think about the birds and their lack of financial
planning. If God takes care of the birds – he put worms there in the dirt for the
robins and bugs in the trees for the wood peckers.
       This is also a good time to look at the flowers. Like birds, they do not
have papers and investments. They don’t have to wander around East Towne or
West Towne for hours looking for the right clothes. Yet they are dressed better
than all of us. They dress better than royalty. I suppose if we moved the model
of good taste up to the 21st Century, we might say they dress better than all of
the beautiful people on the best dressed list.
       Now what are we supposed to think about flowers? Flowers and grass
area all here for a short time and then they die. You, however live year after
year. The birds live a few years, but you will live for a few decades. Both the
flowers and the birds end their time and return to the dust. Yet, we are the
children of the Heavenly Father – we do not return to dust, but are gathered up
by God for life in eternity.

        So then, this is the lesson. We should not look first and foremost to our
stuff. We should look to the author of all our wealth. We should not look only for
the gold that comes from the mountains, but to the one who set the mountains in
place. We should not gather our green dollar bills without remembering what has
been written on each piece of money printed or stamped out by the Unites States
        Here is Jesus application. It is not that we take no thought for our future
for our possessions. It is where we hold them in our hearts. It is where we place
God in relation to our things –
           For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father
knows that you need them. [31] Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things
will be added to you.                                      Luke 12:30-31
        Will God give me a car and a mansion and let me win the lottery? No, not
likely, but he will be for us all that those things promise to give – only we can
count on him.
III. Application – The commands
        In Matthew’s gospel, the teaching is left at the level of giving principles.
Luke, however, has a lot more to say about wealth. We will return to this theme
in chapter 14 and twice in chapter 16. Vv. 32-34 gives us the applications.
        Reduce - The first thing said is “Sell your possessions.”
        What? Are you crazy? Do we just sell everything? Before you reject or
explain away this passage, listen to it carefully. We know from the rest of the old
and new testaments that it is ok to own things. Even Jesus ministry team had
clothing and a money bag.
        I think this means for us to REDUCE YOUR STUFF. We are buying
things all the time and bringing them into our homes. Some of that are groceries
that we eat or clothing that we use and wear out. But other stuff just seems to
pile up. Jesus first teaching is that we should reduce. Instead of building a
bigger house to hold more stuff – that was what the foolish farmer did - we
should cut down on our stuff.
        Can you get by with a smaller house? One less car? Fewer books?
(Ouch! It hurt me to say that).
        Doesn’t it feel good to see your house clean after you have cleaned out
the extra stuff?
        Give – What are we supposed to do with all that extra stuff? Well you can
give it to someone who needs it. You can donate it to a charity. You can sell it
and give the money to missions.
        The best antidote to being a miser is to give. You probably have more
than you think, and you can free yourself from the bondage of wealth by giving it
        When have you last given freely to someone else beyond what you were
expected to give? Don’t wait until you are as rich as Bill Gates, you can start
giving when you only have a dollar or a dime.
        Invest -- Jesus said to get money bags that do not grow old and treasure
that does not fail. What he means is to invest in eternity. The Foolish Farmer
invested in this life with no thought for the life to come. We live about 70 years,
more or less. We should take care of our needs for that time. However, we are
fools if we invest only in what we can see. Someone said, “He is no fool who
gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not loose.”
        Value -- Every good joke and every good story has a punch line. That
one thing that is memorable and the one thing, if you forget all the rest that you
should hold and remember. Here is the one for today: Luke 12:30-34
    For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows
that you need them. [31] Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be
added to you.
             For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
        Know that riches are not found in things. Know that life is not found in
things. Riches and Life are found in God. In God you should find your treasure,
and the object of your first love. All the rest takes its place when this is in order.
        What is the Lord saying to you today about your wealth?

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