There was once a man who had lots of wealth. One time, his land yielded a great harvest. His already substantial wealth had now increased significantly. What would he do with all these newly acquired wealth? He decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to be able to store this enormous wealth. Once he had that, he thought to himself, he would retire and relax while enjoying his wealth.
After he made such a decision, God showed up and said, “You fool. Tonight you will die. Then we will see who gets all your wealth after you’re gone.”
Does this story seem a bit familiar to you? If it does, you’re not wrong. Jesus told this story as a parable to his hearers. This story was to teach about the consequences of greed for all those who were not rich towards God (Luke 12:15-21). Did you learn any lesson from this story? Let me share mine with you.
The Rich Man was Greedy
One of the main lessons Jesus wanted to put across to his audience (you and I included) is about the consequences of being greedy. Greed started the whole thing:
A man approached Jesus for help with his inheritance. Apparently, his elder brother is keeping the entire inheritance for himself. Jesus didn’t command the elder brother to share the inheritance. Instead, he decided to tackle the root of the problem – greed.
Greed is defined as a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed.
The rich man was already blessed with immense wealth. He had more than enough for himself. However, when his land produced great harvest, he thought of himself first. He had more than enough but he still wanted to hoard that huge amount of additional wealth. He wanted it so much that he decided to tear down his former storage unit and build a much bigger one.
There are so many people with this kind of mindset. They want to own and own more. They are not satisfied with their plenty. They have no desire to share their wealth or channel it to a proper use of helping others. They just want to store it all and label it theirs, and it doesn’t matter whether they get to spend it all. The Bible speaks of such an attitude in the Book of Proverbs:
The Rich Man Wasn’t Rich Towards God
The Rich man’s life was taken away in the end. Jesus gave the reason why. His life was taken because he was not rich towards God. The more preferred term is being rich in (or into) God.
What does that even mean?
- Acknowledging God As Your Source
The rich man failed to acknowledge who His source was. He was rich because the Lord blessed him to be so. As the Creator of all, everything on the earth is God’s to begin with. It is God to enables mankind to get wealth. There’s nowhere that stated that this rich man thanked God for his increase.
- Acknowledging You Own Nothing
The first step to becoming financially stable and blessed as a citizen of God’s kingdom is acknowledging that nothing you own on earth is completely yours. The moment you come to terms with the truth that you are a steward of God’s resources, you have stepped into the the wisdom of God for your finances.
God is the owner of all you possess. You are a caretaker of all His resources, which means you need to seek Him to find out what He wants you to do with His resources, and obey His instructions. God proved His ownership of all when He decided to take the rich fool’s life. He demonstrated that even a rich man himself is God’s property.
- Seeking the Kingdom of God
Once you acknowledge that all you possess is God’s, you’re in for the next step. What does God want you to do with His resources? After after his story about the rich fool, Jesus presented the right way. Let’s check it out:
“Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom.”Luke 12:29-32
When you’re completely of the reality that God is your source, you stop striving so much after possessions. God knows what you need and He is willing to provide for you. What Jesus wants you to focus on is seeking God’s kingdom. This means to bed always thinking about what to do concerning God’s agenda and initiative. That is where you must channel His resources to.
One example is the spreading of the gospel of God’s kingdom to the nations. This kingdom agenda is not cheap. It needs a lot of funding from God’s people (who are caretakers of His resources). Another example of the kingdom agenda is generosity to the poor and needy.
Jesus ends his line of statement with this:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”Luke 12:34
Where is your treasure centered on? Yourself? or God?
Mind you that being rich towards God is not about depriving yourself. God loves you. Don’t forget in the story that the man was already rich. He had more than enough for himself and family. The problem was that He became very greedy, hoarding for himself more than he or his family will ever need. God loves you and is very much interested in your wellbeing and prosperity (3 John 3:2). Jesus also added that God seeks to provide for you and advised that you trust in His provision and not be anxious about anything.
In this series, I am going delve a bit deeper into various ways you should focus your finances on, other than yourself (Which you should totally do. Take care of yourself and family with the money your Heavenly Father gives you). Be ready for a journey of enlightenment on what you should do with your finances in line with the culture of God’s Kingdom. Stay blessed.
God seeks to provide for you. When that happens would you be rich towards God? Or would focus solely on yourself? A kingdom teaching for your finances.