Parable of the Rich Fool

Posted: April 23, 2017 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 12:13-21, “Parable of the Rich Fool”

In the 1987 film “Wall Street,” Michael Douglas’ fictional character Gordon Gekko famously declared “Greed is good.”  His speech was intended to shock, though the sentiment seemed to capture much of the essence of the 1980’s era.  It was a time of outright selfishness as people tried to climb the corporate ladder to wealth and success.

Dates may have changed, but culture has not.  People are still focused on wealth and fame, even if the markers of these things are different.  No longer is the status symbol a Rolex; it’s a spot on a reality TV show.  People want to have their videos go viral, to be shot to success, and to be recognized by the Hollywood elite.  Why?  Because if you’re famous, you’re probably rich.  The greed of the 80’s lived well past the 90’s, the 2000’s, and even to today.

Of course, greed has never been new.  It’s been around since (literally) the dawn of humanity.  Adam & Eve were greedy for the ability to be like God, which is why they fell to the temptation offered them by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  Humanity has not exactly improved in the years following.

If greed is so bad, what can be done about it?  As Jesus begins a longer teaching section on money, trust, and stewardship, He’ll provide some answers, but He first helps us understand the problem.  He helps us understand what greed is, and that yes, it is actually bad.  We are to beware covetousness, and instead, be careful to value what God values.

Contextually, it’s a bit difficult to pinpoint precisely when this took place in Jesus’ ministry.  It’s in the middle of a long section that covers a variety of Jesus’ southern treks to Jerusalem, but Luke doesn’t provide too much more detail than that.  Thematically, Jesus recently had a confrontation with the hypocritical & legalistic Pharisees, and He just warned people away from their “leaven” – the danger of becoming hypocrites themselves.  Instead of fearing the way we might look in front of others, we are to have a right fear of God, trusting Him.  We can be bold in our witness of Him, knowing that the Holy Spirit will provide for us what we need as we do.

How does all of that relate to this subsequent teaching on money?  A lot of it comes down to trust.  Do we trust ourselves, our wealth, and our skills?  Or is our trust in the Lord God?  Are we seeking to serve Him first and foremost?  The things we value go a long way in indicating where our trust lies.  Those who trust themselves invest in themselves.  Those who trust God invest in the things He values.  Who do you trust?  What do you value?

Luke 12:13–21

  • The Warning (13-15)

13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”

  • Although the NKJV translates this in such a way as it seems that it might flow from the previous section, the Greek is a bit more ambiguous.  Remember that chapter breaks are not inspired – it would have made much sense for 12:1-11 to be included with the end of Chapter 11, considering it continued with the confrontation between Jesus & the Pharisees.  Here in vs. 13, a new thought picks up with a new conversation.  Someone in the crowd had spoken to Jesus – but we don’t know which crowd or when.  Crowds often followed Jesus, and this could have happened at any time.
  • This particular person who spoke to Jesus wanted Him to settle a family dispute.  Apparently, this was not an uncommon practice among rabbis and other teachers.  They were expected to shed light on various moral and ethical situations, and that seems to have been the scenario here.  This man didn’t necessarily follow Jesus as one of His larger group of disciples, but he at least recognized Jesus as a legitimate teacher.  The issue he wanted Jesus to solve was one regarding the family “inheritance.”  He was owed something from the estate that his brother had not provided, and he hoped that Jesus would intervene.  Culturally, the eldest son would receive the largest portion of a family inheritance, but he wouldn’t receive everything.  The other sons had a legal claim to at least some of it, and apparently this particular brother felt left out.
  • Straightforward issue, right?  Simple question for Jesus, right?  Evidently, Jesus saw that there was more to it than what met the eye.  Being the Son of God, Jesus knew what was in this man’s heart, and there was a bigger issue here than a simple division of the estate.  His response to the brother was striking: “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”  Literally, the word for “arbitrator” could be translated “divider” – an appropriate response to the man who asked Jesus to “divide” the estate.  The bottom line issue is simple enough: why did Jesus need to get involved?  Who was He to them?  Sure, the brother saw Jesus as a teacher, but was that it…or was there more?  Jesus is the Judge over all the earth.  Did the man see Him that way, or was He just another judge among many?  Jesus is the Lord.  Did the man recognize Him as such?
    • How often do we treat Jesus this way?  Instead of looking to Him as Lord, we look to Him as a trump-card in our disputes.  Instead of seeking to apply the Scripture to our lives, we look for a proof-text to prove someone else wrong.  Be careful!  If Jesus is Lord, then He is Lord.  Instead of looking to Him to discipline someone else, consider what He is saying to you.
  • So what was really going on?  Disputes (particularly family issues) are rarely what they seem on the surface.  Many times there are deeper issues at work, and that was the case here.  These brothers were arguing over money, but the real problem was one of the heart.  Vs. 15…

15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

  • Here, Jesus addresses the crowd as a whole, and the man just became an object lesson for everyone.  The real issue wasn’t the inheritance, it was greed.  “Covetousness” = greediness, insatiableness, avarice.  It’s the “gimme-gimme-gimme” part of us that is so much a part of our intrinsic nature.  From the moment we are born, we’re selfishly greedy, always wanting what we want when we want it.  As cute as babies are, they are evilly selfish.  They want to be fed, they want to be changed, they want to be entertained, etc., and if you don’t do it when they want it, they throw a fit until you do.  Obviously, babies have no other option as they cannot fend for themselves…but it’s still inherently selfish.  What is expected of infants is sinful for us if the attitude continues, and it’s called covetousness.
  • How bad is it?  It’s bad enough to be included in the 10 Commandments, along with murder and adultery.  Exodus 20:17, "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s."  There, the word speaks more directly of “desire,” contextually, as in selfish-desire.  It’s good to desire a good thing for good reasons.  To desire a spouse, a home, comfort…none of that is inherently bad.  The problem is when we desire things that already belong to someone else.  We can desire a spouse; we cannot desire someone else’s spouse, etc.  But that’s exactly what greedy covetousness does.  David had many wives, and could have had any woman in the kingdom that his heart desired, as long as she wasn’t married to another.  Yet he desired Bathsheba, and that single sin began the downfall of his entire family.  Adam and Eve could have eaten the fruit of any tree in the garden; they desired the fruit of the tree of knowledge.  That single sin began the downfall of the human race.  Is greediness bad?  Without question!
  • Thus this is something to “take heed and beware.”  Watch out!  Be careful of covetousness.  We never know when it will strike, nor to what it will lead.  If that was true in 1st century Judea, imagine how true it is today!  21st century America is built on covetousness…our culture is saturated with it.  In 2015, more than $180 billion was spent on American advertising. (https://www.statista.com/topics/979/advertising-in-the-us/)  Considering there are about 319 million people in the United States, that’s approximately $564 per person (from infants to adults).  Americans know how to covet, and we are taught to do so from a very early age.  So take heed!  Christian, beware!  Be like a night watchman, and guard against such temptation.  Being born-again makes us aware of the sinfulness of covetousness; it doesn’t exempt us from it.  We are just as prone as anyone else to its allure.  We’ll even become covetous of other Christians: “That church has more people…  They have a bigger building/budget…  They have a better pastor…” Beware!  It’s a road that leads us to where we do not want to go.  It’s a road that leads to discontent, distrust, and idolatry (especially of self).
  • Jesus hits the nail right on the head as to the root issue: “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.”  The old phrase says, “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”  That’s the thought of our age: get more, and more, and more.  If we get as much as we can, then we’ll be happy.  Not so!  Routinely, when wealthy people are interviewed, they mention how money does not buy their happiness.  When it comes to the stuff that really matters in life, money and possessions don’t even crack the top 10.  At the end of one’s life, no one cares about how many cars or houses you own.  You just care if you are loved.  What matters is if you’re in a right relationship with God & with others.  That’s what life is all about.  To know God & to be known by Him – to be used by your Creator within His creation.  That’s the good stuff of life!  “Things” are perishable…they’re all going to burn.  Souls are eternal…they endure in either heaven or hell.  Do what benefits your soul – that’s when your life will find fulfillment.
  • The Parable (16-20)

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’

  • Quick reminder: a parable is a fictional story with a specific point.  There are some stories Jesus tells that appear to be real events, though symbolic language may be used (the judgment between the sheep & goats, for example) – but parables are generally fiction, invented by Jesus to illustrate a specific lesson.  We aren’t to allegorize the story, looking for parallels in every little detail.  Instead, we’re to look for the main point…which in this case, Jesus will give at the end.
  • The basic setting is simple: there’s a “rich man” – in this case, a farmer, and he had a bumper crop.  This was the sort of harvest anyone would wish for: so plentiful that there was not enough room for all of the food.  If you’re going to have a problem, this is a good problem to have!  It was indeed a legitimate issue…without a plan, then the extra food would spoil.  Something needed to be done, but what?  That’s when he had a brainstorm…

18 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.

  • From an earthly perspective, this is a logical, well thought-out plan.  If his current barns weren’t large enough, then he needed bigger barns.  He could just tear down what he had & build bigger & better.  Sure, it would take time, but it would be worth it in the end.  He would have all he needed for what he called “my crops and my goods.
  • Right here, we see a hint of the problem at hand.  There is nothing at all inaccurate about what he said.  Those barns, crops, and goods were indeed his.  He built them, grew them, and earned them.  But where does God factor in?  Yes, this farmer did all of this, but who equipped the farmer with the ability to do so?  Who allowed him to have the inheritance of land – who sent the rain for the crops – who gave him the strength to harvest – who blessed the fields to produce?  God.  For as much as the farmer did, he couldn’t provide any of that on his own.  The farmer was totally dependent on the gifts and blessing of God to do what he did.  So shouldn’t God get a say in what happens with the crops?  Did the farmer bother to thank the Lord at all?  What did he do in returning thanks?  What did he do in regards to worship?
  • What’s revealed here is that the rich farmer thought only of himself.  He didn’t consider the Lord God who gave him all that he had.  He didn’t even consider the poor who might have been around him, who could have benefited from even a tiny fraction of the excess crop.  This man was totally self-centered, and his ego comes on grand display.

19 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.” ’

  • Apart from the little bit of self-conversation, this might seem perfectly normal.  But from a first-world economic perspective, this makes a lot of sense.  If you have a fantastic year, take the profits, invest them, and live off the interest.  And if it makes you so wealthy that you can take an early retirement, then so much the better!  That’s basically the scenario here.  The farmer’s bumper crop was so good that he was financially set for the rest of his life.  All he needed to do was to build his barns, and he could kick back & take it easy.  It would be happy days from here on out!  Perhaps not caviar & champagne every night, but he’d have enough to care for himself & not worry about a single thing otherwise.
  • Sounds good, right?  Sound like something any of us might enjoy.  From an earthly perspective, this is about as good as it can get.  But again, it’s good for one person: the farmer.  There is still no thought of God nor anyone else.  He does not even share this joy with his family.  After all, he’s bragging to his own “soul” about his life on Easy-Street.  He got what he wanted, and that’s all he cared about.  This is the essence of selfishness – it is the essence of greed.
  • And God calls him out on it.  Vs. 20…

20 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?’

  • There may be many things we want to hear from the Lord God, but being called a “fool” isn’t one of them!  Question: Is God making fun of the man, insulting him?  Of course not.  Calling the rich man a “fool” here is not the same thing as what Jesus forbade in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:22).  Jesus’ example then was definitely one of insult (literally calling someone an “empty-head” or “dunderhead”); the example here is descriptive.  IOW, it’s the simple truth.  This man was foolish!  The word literally refers to someone without wisdom, and that perfectly sums things up.  The farmer may have been skilled at agriculture, but not in life.  He lacked the wisdom to see what was truly important.  Forrest Gump famously quoted his mother saying, “Stupid is as stupid does,” and the farmer did stupidly.
  • What was so wrong about it?  All his plans were for naught.  The rich man had all kinds of designs for how he would use his wealth for his own benefit, and not a single thing would come to fruition.  He didn’t have time to build bigger barns – he wouldn’t even have time to tear down his existing barns.  What the farmer planned would take months, if not years.  As it turned out, the farmer didn’t have months to spare; he only had a few hours left.  God had plans to take his life that very night.  The farmer was making deals with his soul, yet God was requiring his soul of him.  In other words, the farmer was making checks he couldn’t cash.  He was planning his future without any regard for the God who held his future in His hand.  This man was the very definition of foolishness.
  • That itself would have been striking for those listening to Jesus.  For all that people generally think about rich people, “foolishness” is not one of them.  Especially in that culture!  In the Old Testament, wealth is generally seen as a good thing – as a sign of God’s blessing.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all wealthy, made prosperous by God.  Job was attacked by his friends when his wealth, family, and health were lost, as the supposed signs of God’s blessing had been removed.  That’s just how the culture viewed things…and it isn’t too different from today.  We tell others how God “blessed” us with comfortable lives, gifts, and other signs of wealth.  And to a large extent it’s true: if we received these things as gifts from the Lord (which we did!), then it’s accurate to say that He blessed us.  We just need to remember that those aren’t the only signs of God’s blessing.  Job, for example, wasn’t any less beloved of God in his suffering as he was in his comfort.  Ruth and Naomi were desperately poor, while God had a marvelous plan for their provision (and ultimate inclusion in the Messianic bloodline).  In the New Testament, wealth is rarely seen among the apostles, but it occasionally occurred among believers (Joseph of Arimathea, Barnabas as a landowner, etc.).  The bottom line is that wealth is neutral.  It’s neither good nor bad.  A person who’s rich could be incredibly godly, or incredibly greedy.  Just as there are a mix of attitudes among the poor, so there are among the rich.
  • With all of that said, it was the possibility of this wealthy farmer in the parable being foolish that was striking.  And it wasn’t just a possibility; it was the declaration of God!  God lumped this man in with all of the various descriptions of the “fool” in Proverbs – as someone who was truly thoughtless regarding the things that matter, and who lived without any real fear of God.  And that is the point.  Proverbs 1:7, "(7) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction."  Proverbs 9:10, "(10) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."  If that is what wisdom does, the farmer didn’t do it.  The farmer acted without any fear (reverence/worship) of God, thus he was a fool.  He didn’t see God as his provider – he didn’t give God thanks – he didn’t seek to honor God with his wealth.  God didn’t enter the picture at all, and that was the problem.  The fact that God never crossed his mind demonstrates that he had no relationship with God in the first place.  That’s foolish!
  • Keep in mind that this farmer was about see God with his own eyes.  He was about to come face-to-face with his Maker, and it would happen that very night.  For all of the preparations he had made for his crops, what had he done to prepare for his judgment? Not a single thing.  Granted, the typical Jewish perspective regarding God’s judgment was generally different than our own.  The many references to the “Day of the Lord” usually refer to the day that God pours out His judgment upon the earth for sin, restores Israel, and reveals the glorious Messiah.  (IOW, it is the 2nd Coming of Christ.)  There are not too many references to a personal & individual judgment that people face with God.  Typically, a person’s judgment was thought of as death, as dust returned to dust.  That’s not to say that the Old Testament is completely silent about it.  Daniel 12:2-3 speaks of a future resurrection of some to life and some to shame.  Isaiah 66:23 speaks of a time when “all flesh” comes before God.  Others could be named, but these references are typically generalized, whereas the New Testament teaching is far more specific – which is understandable considering that some of the things that were previously mysterious have now been revealed in the Lord Jesus.  Even so, for the people listening to Jesus tell this parable, one fact would have been crystal clear: the foolish farmer was receiving his judgment in death.  For all the preparations he made, he didn’t make the right ones.
    • We will face a judgment.  What may have been vague in the Old Testament is incredibly specific in the New Testament.  Jesus taught of a judgment so specific that every idle word spoken will be accounted for. (Mt 12:36-37)  He taught of a time when the wicked will be separated from the just at the end of the age. (Mt 13:49-50)  He even taught how people will be personally known by Him when they enter the kingdom of heaven – and those He does not recognize as His own will be told to depart. (Mt 7:21-23)  The point?  Jesus was incredibly clear in His teaching that people will face a personal judgment.  That is something for which we must be prepared.  As the writer of Hebrews states: Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,"  There will most certainly be a personal judgment.  Are you ready for it?  Have you feared God in righteous worship?  Will Jesus recognize you as belonging to Him as His own?  There is no issue more important to settle than this.  Be assured: you will face God.  Your life will be called to account, and you will need to provide answers.  And ultimately, there is only one: whether or not you belong to Jesus – whether or not your name has been written in His book of life.
      • How can you know if it is?  By believing upon Jesus as Lord!  Romans 10:9, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  This is God’s guarantee.  This is how you know you will be saved in the day of judgment – how you know Jesus will look at you with love, and say “Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
    • Keep in mind that even Christians face a judgment.  Although our entry into the kingdom of heaven is assured through our faith in Jesus, we as believers do still face a judgment of our own for our eternal reward.  Paul wrote clearly that we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Rom 14:10)  At Jesus’ judgment seat (Bema Seat) we will receive the things done in the body (2 Cor 5:10) – IOW, we will give account for the things we have done after we became believers in Jesus.  If we are to be wise (instead of foolish), we would be mindful of that day.  We need not be fearful, but the awareness of our own future judgment ought to help guide us in our actions today.  If we truly value preparation for our future, then we ought to think about our eternal future with our Lord Jesus.  How best can we prepare for that now?  Wisdom would dictate acting along those lines.
  • The Moral

21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

  • The idea of “treasure” is something Jesus will come back to in vss. 33-34.  It’s natural for people to want to be rich – we just need to be rich in the ways that count.  We need to be rich in the ways that matter.  As was shown by the farmer in the parable, a person can be rich in the present and poor in eternity.  He had a massive treasure laid up for himself, and it was ultimately worthless – it was literally a pile of stuff left behind.  As the old saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.”  Hearses don’t come with u-hauls (and if they did, they wouldn’t help!).
  • What is needed isn’t so much earthly treasure, but heavenly treasure.  It isn’t earthly possessions (vs. 15); it’s heavenly actions.  Jesus points it out here in His conclusion.  The farmer was rich (vs. 16), but he needed to berich toward God.”  The same root word is used, but one is an adjective & the other is a verb (participle).  There’s nothing at all in being rich on earth, but that isn’t what is going to help anyone in eternity.  We need to be rich toward God – we need to act richly towards Him.
  • It’s a nice thought (good “churchy” sort of language) – but what does it mean?  How is anyone supposed to be rich toward God?  What does this look like?  First of all, notice what this is not: Jesus never says to make God rich.  That’s impossible.  God is the owner of the heavens & the earth.  There is nothing we can give Him that He does not already have.  He doesn’t get hungry or thirsty, so there is no need to feed Him.  To think that we can somehow enrich God is rather egotistical – it makes far too much of ourselves and our offerings than what is actually possible.  So that isn’t want Jesus says – His instruction is to be rich toward God, or to translate the preposition as it’s normally rendered, “being rich into God.”  This is where the idea of value comes in.  If we’re actively becoming rich towards the person of God, into His very character & nature, then we’re valuing the things that God values.  We’re generous into the things that God loves & who He is.  What does God value?
    • God values worship.  All of creation exists to give God worship and praise.  The heavens declare the glories of God, and so ought we.  The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  It is to fear and worship Him above all else.  If we do not first richly love God, then what does it matter what else we do?  We need to be rich toward God in our praise, our prayers, our time, our resources, and more.  However we can express our love to God, we ought to do it.  Not to somehow receive blessing in return, but simply to express our true love and praise of Jesus.
    • God values people.  Humans are God’s special creation within the universe – the only living thing made in His own image.  People are so valuable to God that He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross in order to pay the price for our sins.  God loves people.  Thus, if we are to be rich toward God, we can be generous towards others.  We can find ways of practically loving our neighbors, demonstrating the same love towards them that God the Father has toward them.  We can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of the orphans, and more.  Perhaps we do it through parachurch ministries – perhaps we do it in person – we just do it.  We look for ways to build up other people.  Just as the farmer took time to build up his own wealth, we take time to act richly towards others.
      • BTW – this doesn’t necessarily have to be strangers.  There may be a neighbor on your street having a tough time.  Take them a meal or some groceries.  Get creative, but be proactive.
    • God values His Church.  Jesus was sent for all the world, but it is the Church who are saved and the ones who have been redeemed.  Jesus actively builds His Church, and it is we who are His eternal Bride.  He loves His Church – He loves us!  Thus if Jesus values His Church, so ought we.  It may be popular among some to claim that they love Jesus, but not the Church – but that certainly is not God’s perspective.  There are definitely areas where the Church has gone wrong through the centuries, and by no means are we perfect today – but we are still beloved & valued by God. So find ways to be rich toward the Church.  Does financial giving matter?  Sure.  If we’re being “rich” towards something, then we’re going to give stuff of value.  That includes money, by default.  But there is more of value than cash.  Blood, sweat, & tears, for example.  There is time & effort spent in ministry & service.  There is prayer & intercession for people & the persecuted church.  There is listening to friends in need & offering Godly counsel.  There is finding younger Christians in whom you can invest & disciple.  There are all kinds of ways that you can be rich toward God by valuing the Church.
      • When we do, we’re reminded of something extremely important: “church” is something more than a couple of hours on Sunday morning.  The Church is the people of God.  A local church gathers together for a hour+ on Sunday (and an hour on Wednesday), and the building in which we gather is often called a “church,” but those things aren’t THE church.  THE local church is comprised of the actual people for whom Christ died and who are saved.  If we are to be rich towards the local church, we need to be around the church & build relationships within the church.  That takes time.  Be rich with your time.
  • What happens when we’re rich toward God?  We build up treasure in heaven.  This is something Jesus will bring out later in a few verses: Luke 12:33–34, "(33) Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. (34) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Where do you want your treasure to be: on earth, or in heaven?  One type of wealth is bound to be lost, whereas the other will endure.  Don’t be foolish – be wise, and value what God values.

Conclusion:
Is it a money message?  Not really – it’s more about motives than money.  What is it that drives us?  What is it that we value?  Do we seek the riches and security of this world – or is our hope, trust, and value in the Lord God?

The brother who spoke up to Jesus had a legitimate outward issue, but ultimately he inwardly struggled with greed.  Likewise for the rich farmer in the parable – there was a real issue to solve, but the bigger problem was one of the heart.  His focus was solely upon himself, with no thought at all towards God.

When it comes to the struggle between greed & God, who wins?  If we leave it to our flesh, it’s going to be greed every time.  If we just sit back & let things roll out – if we simply do what comes naturally to us, then we’re going to fall back upon our sinful nature.  What’s needed is what is unnatural.  It’s the crucifixion of our flesh, with its sinful desires (Gal 5:24) – it’s reckoning ourselves dead to our sin so that we might live to God in Christ Jesus (Rom 6:11) – it’s denying ourselves so that we might act richly toward God.

Beloved, this takes watchfulness – this takes intention.  It’s no wonder that Jesus said to “take heed and beware of covetousness,” because it’s that sort of vigilance that it requires.  It’s so easy to fall into the slog of selfishness.  It not only comes naturally to us as individuals; it is the natural bent of our culture.  The key is to remember that we belong to a different culture.  We have a new nature.  We are born of the Spirit and have been made the children of God.  So let us take care to value the things our Heavenly Father values.  Love the things & the people our Lord Jesus loves.  Let us be rich toward God and build up our treasure in heaven.

Be challenged on this.  Ask yourself on a practical level: you spent 40,50,60+ hours building up wealth on earth – how much time have you devoted being rich towards God?  It’s not a matter of legalism or guilt; it’s an evaluation of priorities.  Perhaps you’ve got close to 100% overlap between those two areas…praise the Lord!  After all, the job you do through the week is your most natural mission field, and it’s how you provide for your family (a Godly thing) and how you’re equipped to do other ministry (another Godly thing).  But maybe if you took a deeper look at your motivations, you’d have to admit it’s been far more lopsided towards self, with stinginess towards God.  That can be a sobering realization…but it can also be a great wake-up call.  Let it change your heart and your mindset, that you start looking for outlets to be rich towards the God who has already poured out His riches upon you.

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