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Saturday, September 18, 2010

9/19/10- Luke 12:13-21 Focus on God and Others

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
14 Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" 15 Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." 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 those who store up things for themselves but are not rich toward God."

(The Rich Fool- Rembrandt van Rijn- 1606-69)

Thoughts: The man interrupted Jesus publicly to be on his side about his inheritance. His lack of hesitation (not waiting to talk to him privately) shows how he was consumed with the issue.  The parable of the rich man- shows us someone who was wise in the ways of the world, but who still had to submit to God.  He was building bigger barns so he could sell the grain for a higher price when it was needed (following Joseph's example of saving up- Gen. 41).  But he had no thought of others.  He uses the first person pronouns (I, my, me) about 8 times. His sin was his focus- he was leaving God and neighbor out.  He sought to have more simply so he could live easily.  He saw his wealth as only from himself and for himself.  We should learn to be careful to not wait until we have more to do what God calls us to do.  In a recession- we do not need to wait until we have bigger barns- more savings- to help others.  Each day is a gift- and we are called to be generous stewards of that gift.  God gives us wealth- not simply so we may eat, drink, and be merry, but that we might use that wealth (as all gifts) to glorify Him. 

Prayer: Help me Lord, to be a good steward of my time.  Help my focus to not be on me but on you and others.

John Calvin commentary abridged: Why did Chist not judge for the man who asked him to do so?  He did not want to appear to be an earthly judge- as the Jews wanted-and stir rumors that he was effecting a this-world redemption.  He also sought to make a distinction between the political kingdoms of this world and the government of the Church.  Thirdly, Christ saw this man was neglecting God and looking only to his own worldly concerns.  Thus Christ warned the man against greed and covetousness. The root of greed is thinking that the more possessions we have the happier we will be- thus not relying on God's providence. This parable shows us 1) that life is short and transitory; 2) riches do not help in prolonging life; 3) (this is an inferrance) that both rich and poor should seek a remedy for greed in relying on God's providence for daily bread.

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