Greed is a consuming influence in society today. We see, we desire, we demand and we satisfy our greedy cravings only to receive the unfulfilling longing for more. This parable shows that we are to hold onto the things of this world loosely. Material possessions, fortune, fame are all temporary and can be lost in an instant. Jesus wants us to realize that what we supremely value will define our life; and if we want to live lives of significance, we must live for what is eternal. Only our relationships with God and others will count for eternity. The only thing you can take to heaven is other people. What are you living for?
Life is more than possessions (12:13-18).
The parable Jesus tells is about a man who is materialistic. His property and possessions have produced great profit. These have all led to pride and greed. His land is very productive, so much so that he does not have enough place to store all his grain and goods. By any means this is a huge blessing. He could have used the blessing of his possessions, property and profit to bless others. However, his greed would not allow him to give to others. Greed and generosity are always incompatible values. So, the man built bigger barns to selfishly store up for himself.
Having or accumulating possessions cannot be the ultimate goal in life because such items will not last forever. They wear down and out. They cannot emotionally or spiritually relate to your individual soul. Even replacing our possessions with new ones only offer temporary novelty. The point is we need more than material possessions to bring satisfaction in life.
What is your most prized possession? How does it describe your identity & personality? How does it fall short in doing this?
Life is more than pleasure (12:19).
The greedy man not only takes pride in his possessions but also in pleasure. He finds comfort in his life of ease. His reasoning in building bigger barns is so he can store up grain without having to work over his next several years. This was nothing but self-indulgent pleasure and foolish laziness.
Most people think that wealth will provide pleasure and satisfaction. After time many have said their experience leaves them lonely and unhappy. A simple look at the recent passing of pop star Michael Jackson shows that he had all the fortune and fame. Yet, his death is ridiculed with the desperation of pain pills and saddened relationships.
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure… Yet… everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
Create Bucket List: Name 3 things you want to do before you die. What keeps you from doing these things now, knowing that time is short? How will these pleasures prepare you for eternity?
Life is preparation (12:20-21).
Though the man’s life had consisted of multiple possessions and pleasure he was unprepared for the ultimate end which faces every person, rich or poor. God’s judgment on the man’s life was summed up in one word – foolish. The word implies lacking reason, intelligence and common sense perception. He was a fool because he only prepared his life for this world but failed to do so for the next. His treasure was in himself rather than in the eternal God.
Death escapes no one. No one is completely ready to leave their life but there are ways a person can prepare to end life on earth and begin life eternal. It starts with having an eternal mindset and worldview. All of life’s blessings should point to eternal realities. The blessing of possessions on earth points to the one true possession that will never fade or wear out – salvation of Jesus Christ. The blessing of pleasure on earth points to the eternal pleasures and joy dispensed by God (Psalm 16:11). Blaise Pascal said that we all have a God-shaped vacuum in our life yet we fill it with things of this world. None of these fit or fulfill, only God can. Life on earth is ‘boot camp’ preparation for the greater existence that will take place in eternity. Are you prepared (12:22-40)?
TAKING IT HOME
- Read & Discuss Switchfoot’s Lyrics from song “Gone”. How does this relate to not being rich toward the world but rich toward God?
- How do you become rich toward God? Don’t just throw out an answer, seriously think about it and respond as if you are making a commitment to do this.
- Respond to this statement: “He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot