Jesus on Poverty & Wealth
“16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Luke 12:16-21 NIV
This passage makes me nervous. I’ve heard pastors preach about how much God wants for me to be prosperous and to bless me financially. I’ve heard those messages and I like that. It makes me feel comfortable. As I live my modern western life and work hard to put money away to get out of debt, set aside a portion for retirement, and be a “good steward” of what I have, this passage in Luke 12 just makes me uncomfortable. It sure seems like I (and a lot of other well intentioned Christians) am living my life in order to become the rich fool! I need to be careful not to give money, finances, and material wealth too high a place in my life. Most of us fear poverty. Luke teaches me that I’d be wiser to fear wealth!
While there is nothing in the passage to suggest that this man’s problem was his wealth on earth, it does show that his issue was that he did not build treasures in Heaven. Jesus uses this story to show me that it isn’t only sin to give material things too high a place in my life, it is also stupid! In the end, the rich fool was so concerned about only himself, that he missed what was most important. His statements surely reflect his priorities and where his heart lies, “my crops”, “my barns”, “my surplus”, and “I’ll say to myself…”.
Jesus shared this parable to teach the fact that earthly riches can easily take my focus off from developing riches in heaven. I need to be learning to give sacrificially, loving extravagantly, reaching out to others for Jesus enthusiastically, and trusting God wholeheartedly.
Most of us fear poverty. Luke teaches me that I’d be wiser to fear wealth!
I read that John Wesley taught and lived very wisely regarding earthly and heavenly riches. He said that you should “earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, and give as much as you can.” It is said that he himself lived on £28 British pounds a year and gave the rest away, even when his salary went from £30 to £60 to £90 to £120 over his lifetime.
Lord You have convicted my heart about allowing things to mean to much to me. I have allowed the latest technologies, the latest gadgets, the coolest motorcycles, and stuff to get in the way of giving to You. Lord increase my heart and my courage to give for You. I want to build treasures in heaven. Amen.