Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 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.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 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. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Comment: I don’t know what factors you consider in writing a will. Love, legal factors, past hurts or help given, and many other things come into play. But Jesus refuses to be the judge. We are all responsible to do the ‘right thing’. Certainly we can ask God for guidance but I’m responsible for what I eat or drink. I have to write my will wisely and I’m responsible for my reaction if I don’t like how my seniors treat me in theirs.
Jesus chooses to use the opportunity to teach about covetousness and the temporary nature of material wealth.
- Indicating that men are responsible for their actions, Jesus denies that this is a matter of concern for Him. The man and his brother need to sort it out. People are meant to grow up and make sound moral choices. Jesus makes a statement about coveting. Don’t covet is one of the ten guidance laws which God gave Moses on Mt Sinai. It seems to have been one of the factors involved in this brother’s troubled mind.
- He tells a story playing possessions against what is valuable in life. The guy is a good farmer. Tick the box – that is good. He stores his produce safely. Tick the box – good move. But he only thinks about himself and his needs. Mark an ‘X’ in that box, as ‘eat, drink and be merry’ is not the whole purpose of living!
- God speaks and labels the farmer a fool. Tomorrow he’ll be standing before the Highest Court, yet one before which we all have to stand one day. Then the division of the inherence is a matter for someone else to fight over!
Being rich towards God doesn’t mean putting large amounts in the offering plate. It does mean taking responsibility and needs and justice into account. I wonder how many starving people there were in the land at that time?
Prayer: Help me not to be a fool of that type. If others think of me as a fool, let it be because of my strong stance for truth and You.