Sometimes Jesus taught through exhortation. Sometimes He taught through parables, illustrating and sometime veiling His points. In Matthew 6:19-24, He exhorted the people to consider where their treasure was, for there they would find their heart. This Sunday we will take a look at His teaching in Matthew. But in Luke 12:13-21, Jesus also spoke of treasure…this time through parable.
Wednesday, October 2nd
Larger Portion of Scripture - Luke 12
Focused Passage for Reflection - Luke 12:13-21
Reflecting on the Text:
In what does one’s life consist? His possessions? Or His God? Oh, most of us reading this have been schooled well enough to know the answer, or at least the Sunday School answer. We know the essence of life is not to be found in goods, but in relationship with our God. But if we set aside the Sunday School answer for a moment, what might be our real answer?
In Luke 12, Jesus teaches through a parable. The editors of my Bible have inserted a provocative title above the text: “The Parable of the Rich Fool.” Some of us read it, however, and may find ourselves thinking in terms of a different heading: “The Story of the Successful Farmer.” After all, he seems to be doing things well. His farm is producing abundantly. He is growing his enterprise. So what’s the problem? Does Jesus just want him to remain a small time operation?
No. The problem Jesus is exposing is not the problem of growth, or of “success.” The problem Jesus is exposing is the problem of purpose…or as He describes it here as “treasure.” This treasure is meant to reveal something of the man’s heart. What was his true motivating factor? Verse 19 tells the real tale. There, the farmer says to himself, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
The farmer in Luke 12 was motivated by self. His desire was for ease and comfort. And he saw his growing farm as a way to provide the personal comfort he so desperately wanted. Many of us can relate. The man has set a goal and is working to achieve the goal. But verse 20 exposes the problem. In the story/parable, God confronts the man and tells him that very night his soul will be required of him. At that point, the farmer in the story likely asks a question many of us have asked. “What’s the point?”
Actually, it is the right question, though maybe not in the way we’ve asked it. Often when we ask the question, it’s just another way of saying, “I shouldn’t have wasted my time.” But maybe there is another meaning…or another point. The farmer’s problem was not his growing enterprise or his effort in building it. His problem was his purpose behind work. He had a selfish heart which just wanted to live a life of ease and comfort. In the end, those proved to be empty desires.
Instead of self, the growing farm could have been used to serve another treasure. It could have been used to serve the LORD and the LORD’s children. Sure there are blessings that come to the farmer, but the LORD most certainly gave him gifts for greater purposes than a life of ease and comfort. Maybe the point was to grow the farm so that he could better serve others. That would be evidence of a very different treasure.
How about us? Where is our treasure? Are we simply laying it up for ourselves? Or, are we seeking to bear the image of God and live for His glory with an emphasis on ENJOYING God, both now and forevermore? In a lot of different ways and in a lot of different passages, Jesus is asking that very question. How will we answer?
Questions for personal reflection:
Be honest. Where are you laying up treasure? For self? Or for God?
Your answer to the first question doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change the things you do. But your answer may mean you need to reconsider why you do the things you do. In light of Jesus’ teaching in Luke 12, do you have some things you need to reconsider?