Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rich Fool or Trust God?

13 Someone in 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 arbitrator over you?” 15 And 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.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And 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.19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” ~ Luke 12:13-21
I find it curious when God keeps putting the same scripture in front of me for a period of time. This month we have been teaching the youth at our church the concept of “contentment” and the lesson for Sunday was on this very scripture. Then lo and behold on Monday morning I open my devotion and here it is again. So I am thinking ok Lord what is it that you want me to understand here? I try to live my life according to this principle. When I receive something I try to think, “how can I use this for God’s purpose?” Somehow I must be either not living up to what I think I am or there is another point that God wants me to glean from this. I think it may be a little of both… So let’s go over this together and see if we can understand the full value of this parable of the rich fool.
First I think we need to look closely at verses 15 and 21, verse 15 Jesus says: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” In Jesus day, the custom was that the first-born son received a double portion of the family inheritance and from Jesus response; this man was not the first-born. While Jesus refuses to mediate this argument, He stabs right at the motive behind this dispute, “Covetousness!” Jesus speaks plainly and to the point and warns this man, and all of use for that matter, that our lives are not to be about gathering wealth. Although it is not wrong in of itself to have position and wealth, we must know that our lives are so much more than what we have and what we collect.
Then Jesus immediately tells a story, parable, of a Rich Fool. God blessed a man with an abundant crop. (v16) As God blessed this man instead of using the abundance that God provide him to extend God’s will and bless those around him he is consumed with managing and keeping his new found wealth. So this man builds bigger barns in place of the ones he already had and begins to plan his early retirement. Side note, I have read the bible many times and have never seen the word retirement, just food for thought. All the planning and “hoarding” this man was doing he did not know that this was his last night on earth. Jesus ends his story with, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (v21) In the verse before however God calls this man, “Fool!” Ouch, that hurts even to read. Can you imagine standing before God and the first word He speaks to you is “Fool!” More food for though…
As I ponder this parable, I discover two points that I would like to convey. First, we are to devote our lives to God’s will for our lives, to be content with what He provides for us and to use it for His will not just our own benefit. A word that comes to mind is to not be selfish with what He has blessed us with but to bless others with God’s provisions. Looking at verse 20 God says to the man, “the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” Compare what God says here to Ecclesiastes 2:18 ~ “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me.” This can be seen everyday people whose only purpose is to amass wealth. When they die all they worked for gets left behind for those who did not work for it and will not respect nor appreciate what they have gained. Now look at Matthew 6:24 ~ Jesus says: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” In other words, if your master is wealth God is not!
Which brings me to my second point, we are never blessed by God to hoard what He has provided for us to store up for ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing to others. We are blessed to extend the Kingdom of God, here and now! Psalm 62:10 ~ “Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them.” If our riches increase we are not to set our hearts upon them! Proverbs 11:24 ~ “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” Proverbs 3:9-10 ~ “ 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” I think God’s point is clear, if we honor El Shaddi with what He has so lovingly provide us, He will bless us with more so we can honor Him even more.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 ~ “6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
We, Elohim’s children are blessed so we can “abound in every good work” and be a blessing in the lives of others who so desperately need El Yeshuati. So if God has given you and blessed you with material abundance “set not your heart on it” but “be rich toward God.” This is what God has spoken to me in Jesus parable of the Rich Fool, so I ask Rich Fool or Trust God?
Loving and gracious Yahweh-Channun, tank you for Your Words that speak truth and love into our hearts and lives. Grant in us the spirit of giving make us cheerful givers, helps us to remember that our hope lies in and with You Lord and not in the things that you have blessed us with. Make our spirits to be bright shinning lights that point to You Oh El-Moshaah not braggarts of the things we have but in the knowledge that You are with us. We know that we can never repay the love You have rained down upon us. Make us to love You in return and be the people You created us to be by extending Your Kingdom here and now. Make us to live now for eternity and not for today. All this thing we lay at Your feet, Almighty El Elyon in the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!! Amen <><