In Luke 12: 13-21, one day when Jesus was teaching a crowd of people, a man stepped up, interrupted Jesus, and asked Him to tell his brother to give him more money from an inheritance.
At that time in Jewish law, when the father died, the oldest brother divided the money that was left between the brothers. This younger brother thought that he had not received his fair share of his father’s money, so he asked Jesus to decide the decision in his favor.
So Jesus, not wanting to get involved in the family dispute, turns the question around into a teachable moment for the whole group. Jesus tells them not to be greedy. He tries to explain to them that it’s not how many things we have on earth that saves us, but the things that we have in heaven that are important. The people just don’t seem to get it, so Jesus tells a parable — a story to explain that the group will understand and relate to.
There was once an already rich man who had a super-duper crop at harvest. He didn’t have enough storage space, so he decided to build bigger barns to hold it all. Then he would sit back and take the rest of his life easy, enjoy his wealth, and not share with anyone. But that night he died, and he never got to enjoy any of his money from the crops.
Jesus explained to them that this man put his faith, hope and happiness into the wrong thing. Having lots of money will not bring us happiness. The man was greedy and selfish and made his wealth into his god, instead of the real God who could make him truly happy and save his soul for eternity.
We all need to know that we should work hard and be the best we can be, but we can only do that with God’s help. Everything we ever have is through God’s grace to us, so we need to be thankful to Him always. We can show our gratitude by being kind and sharing what we have with others including our witness for Christ. This is what pleases God. It makes Him and us really happy here on earth and will not be forgotten when we get to heaven.
Let’s say our prayer together. Dear God, thank You for all You give to us. We are so lucky that You love and care for us. Help us to never be jealous or greedy and to share what we have willingly with others. Then we can know what real happiness is. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church.