- Aben Johnson
- Sold his Detroit TV station in 1997
- Invested in Gemstones… dabbled since 1988 capital now to go serious
- 3 m on Street Diamond from Sam Walton (won in a poker game against a man named Streeter)
- 2.7 m on Russian blues
- 17 m on the Sylvia diamonds
- $83 m in total
- Found to be cubic zirconia, citrine, and other less valuable stones
- Jack Hasson his Florida jeweller caught in 1999… went to court sentenced to 40 years… and to pay back $78M
Set the stage… Jesus is teaching a crowd of people… Kingdom stuff… heaven, hell, about the Son and the Spirit…. and about relationship to God…
Some blurts out… taking the conversation from its eternal focus… and interjects with this worldly subject…
The recording of this is no mistake… Eternal vs Worldly… this is the focus…
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, "Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?" 15 Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." 16 And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?' 18 "Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear 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 many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."' 20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' 21 "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
- I hate this passage!
- It reminds me of my failings
- My failure to trust in the eternal…
- It reminds me of my propensity to do things w/o God
- My failure to trust in him…
- The number of time I do things for me or in my strength that I should do for him in his strength…
- In Lisa’s house the very prized piece of chocolate you were counting on in the fridge would most certainly disappear before you could enjoy it…
- We have had our fair share of interrogations too…
- That which we had hoped to savour evaporated…
- We can’t allow that same thing to happen with eternity…
- What idols do we serve…
- What idols do we serve…
- How many of us are guilty of idolatry…
- Think about the last time you bought something… big or small…
- Did you weigh it before God first?
- Did you run it past your faith filter?
- Or did you merely seek to satisfy yourself?
- Did you invest… time, money, resources in the temporary or the eternal?
Make My Brother Divide the Inheritance (12:13-14)
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, "Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?"
- Probably younger brother
- 1ST born gets 2x times the inheritance
- to the firstborn… by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn. Deut 21:17
- Keeps land together… no fragmenting
- Older brother become patriarch…
- Younger brother would be seeking
- Divide land
- His control
- Less farmable
- Less communal
- Fair isn’t individualistic
- Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant… GREATER GOOD
- Fair is communal / familial
- Reasoning for the rule was implied… so the younger brother… challenges it… asking for discernment…
- Jesus profound, authoritative… “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me."
- Not an issue to be judged… who appointed me judge? Trivial… compared to the topics at hand!!
- It is an issue of heart… This is what Jesus rules on… about the heart!
- Not about what serves me… what serves God and others!!
Beware of Greed (12:15a)
15 Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed;
- I love people asking Jesus a question… and getting the real answer… not about judging and issue… about the heart!!
- From things eternal…
- Interuption… raises an issue
- What detracts and distracts from the Eternal… selfishness… greed…
- TEACHABLE MOMENT
- The Warning… What is your heart…
- "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed;
- It is insidious
- It is invasive
- Exodus 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbour."
- Wanting, pining for… and unhealthy desire…
- Big house… slick car… big pension… best, brightest, most…
Life Is Not Abundance of Possessions (12:15b)
…for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
· When you think about it, Jesus' word to his First Century disciples is a radical statement even in the Twenty-First Century: "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." This runs contrary to they way our society thinks and values and lives.
· Rich people are more successful than poor people. (Jesus, Paul, Mother Teresa…)
· Wealthy people are more important than poor people.
· Well-to-do people are more sought after to serve on civic boards and commissions, since they bring status, money, and presumably have wisdom.
· Well-off people are more believable in court than the poor.
· Success in our culture is calibrated largely in terms of quantity -- quantity of degrees, wealth, salary, perks, possessions, publications. We are ambitious, we are trained by our society to want more, to strive for more.
- Stuff… Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
- Choose transformation…
- Tweaking is covetedness… greed covered with piety and self-righteousness… it is about me and possessions first
- If the mission was clear… if you felt the prompting of God… could you hand it over…
- Who is God in your life?
- …for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
The Rich Man's Good Crop (12:16)
16 And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive.
- We get excited…
- Is this a promise…
- Does God promise…
- Good crops
- Good salary
- Material wealth?
- You got to know the younger brother is going go on… go on..
- The hook is being dangled!
Build Bigger Barns (12:17-18)
17 "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?' 18 "Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
- Rake it in…
- New barns is about effect use of land… new bigger barns on the the old barn site… doesn’t take up farmable land
- Agro-businessman extraordinaire…
- The hook is set… the little brother is going YA!
- God gives graciously… now I can consume at a ferocious rate…
- Leisure time in North America!!
- Leisure in Scripture focused on God.
- Life isn’t about hording…
- Life is about what you put your trust in…
- Scheme’s of man…
- Personal righteousness…
Trusting in Possessions (12:19)
19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."'
- No God… in this equation… left God out
- Can you imagine God providing so much that we wouldn’t depend on him?
- Look around us…
- Idols… fame, fortune… American Idol
- North America
- The farmer… real keener… patting himself on the back
- I will be set… I will need nothing from no one…
- I am self sufficient in my ability to create wealth…
- Reeling the younger brother in…
The BC Lottery Corp… Just Imagine
Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' 32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The writer of Proverbs recognizes the dangers as he prays,
"Give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much
and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonour the name of my God." (Proverbs 30:8-9)
Foolish Choices (12:20)
20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'
- Reality check…
- What do you labour for?
- New Barns
- Effective farmer
- Business plan
- Employee benfits
- What do you labour for?
- Great plans…
- … but apart from God they are foolishness
- James 4:13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapour that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
- What do you labour for?
- That which is fleeting?
- -- or -- That which is eternal?
- The Gospel
- Our relationship with God
- He set the hook, reeled him in and drags him into the boat!
- What do you labour for?
Not Rich toward God (12:21)
21 "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
- The one who does everything to get ahead in this world…
- Savour the created…
- None of these things are worthy to be our God.
- Mark 8:36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
- Choose your treasure?
- For whom do you labour?
- Are you rich in materials and devoid of Spirit?
In the following passages Jesus says:
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12:32-34)
Matthew 6:1-18 speaks about doing our pious acts in private so that the Father who sees what we are doing in private may reward us. This is immediately followed by Jesus' words about storing up treasures on earth vs. storing up treasures in heaven (6:19-21)
"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." (Luke 16:9)
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." (1 Tim. 6:17-19)
So far as Jesus was concerned we lay up treasures for heaven by humbly living for him now. Giving to the needy, praying, fasting, doing good deeds. No where do we see the idea of "works righteousness" that this can easily be twisted into. These are not "brownie points" that we redeem before God but rewards. They lie in contrast to selfish actions which accrue to our earthly wealth. Greed will not get us to heaven, and may well hinder us from ever arriving there.
The Sin of Idolatry
Greed is akin to the sin of idolatry -- erecting and worshipping a false god, in this case, the god Mammon.
"... nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor. 6:10)
"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." (Ephesians 5:3)
"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person -- such a man is an idolater -- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Ephesians 5:5)
- How do you deal with greed?
- How do you resist its deceitful siren song?
- If a jury of your peers were to examine your life and bank accounts and every action, would they believe that you are strongly motivated (even primarily motivated) by money?
- Are you poor and wealth mocks you?
- Are you wealthy, immersed in luxury and oblivious to the needs of the poor?
- Do you act as if the money you can store up will guarantee your retirement?
- Who is your God and for whom do you labour?