Jan. 3, 2017

The Rich Life

Luke 12: 13 - 23

 

This chapter of Luke begins with Jesus teaching about very serious issues. The topics discussed are important for the listeners to receive and understand if they are to live wisely and represent the Kingdom well.

This is no light and fluffy message. Jesus warns against hypocrisy and how it spreads and contaminates. He mentions motives and assures them that motives cannot be successfully hidden or disguised. In the same certainty that intent will be revealed, secret words and conversations will also be exposed and widely known. Jesus charges them to adopt and maintain a Godly and Kingdom perspective about life, to trust God, believe God's Son and stand firm in that resolve no matter what.

He goes on to alert them concerning the consequences of not declaring their loyalty to Him and not faithfully living that confession. He shares instructions, imparts wisdom, delivers comfort and consolation. He forewarns them of coming opposition and how to conduct themselves during legal battles and when false accusations are levied against them.

Jesus doesn't speak in a manner that suggests these things may happen but He speaks more in terms that they are quite likely to happen and the listeners must be prepared. Their hearts, minds, resolve and determination have to already be in place and anchored in Him and the Word of Truth.

13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

Jesus has just given a grave dissertation about Kingdom living. He has touched on several monumental subject matters that should have the crowd deep in thought and ears acutely attuned to His message. But this person who speaks up reveals that he has not been listening or receiving. He has come for a different purpose. He has come to further his own cause, not to learn or receive or further the cause of Christ. Greed has obscured his vision, crowded his heart and clogged his ears. His motive was revealed. He only showed up to make a point to a family member...to gain leverage in his own selfish pursuits.

14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

Jesus exercised wisdom and chose not to become embroiled in a family dispute. We also must know when to engage and when to disengage. We are not to lend our voice, opinion or resources to every situation that asks for it. People often get involved in messes unnecessarily because they allow folks to pull them off course. Jesus knew His assignment and He stayed focused and consistent with what He had been called and equipped to do.

15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.

Immediately Jesus seized the opportunity to further His teaching rather than be drawn crosswise into a carnal battle over stuff. Some things need to be countered immediately so the residue of it does not contaminate the good that has just been deposited. Other times it is advisable to ignore ignorance and distractions. We need His Spirit to know what things to ignore, what things to address, what things to challenge and what things to refute.

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Jesus described this man as a fool because of his unenlightened thinking and actions. Unless we rely on the Spirit of God and His Word to guide us, we all will make costly mistakes in life. He is our Source and our Provider. Whatever we need He has it and wants us to have it. But there is a way to obtain it. The simple answer is ASK = Ask, Seek, Knock - Matthew 7:7 - 8 and Luke 11: 9 - 10.

21 So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

The Lord is not against material wealth. Many of His faithful followers in biblical times and in this era have more than enough. The imbalance of power, influence and goods are due to greed and improper distribution, not because there isn't enough. What kind of God would He be to create a world where the environment was not sufficient to supply the inhabitants? God is a better planner than that!

What displeases Him is when people want stuff more than they want Him. He is disrespected and not reverenced when people serve money instead of using money to serve His purposes and the Kingdom.

22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

In our society there is so much emphasis on temporary indulgences. Food and clothing are dire necessities for life. We need them and they are meant to be enjoyed but not worshiped. They are not to become primary priorities in our lives. There is more than enough of everything we need. There is no reason to fret and worry about things that will eventually vanish away and have no eternal value or merit.

The true measure of wealth is not in temporary possessions. Genuine wealth is found when a person is rich toward God. That involves authentic gratitude toward Him. Understanding and faithfully participating in God's divine plan for your life makes you rich. Appreciating and accepting His plan of salvation secures your royalty throughout eternity.

Our heavenly Father knows what we have need of and He is not withholding any good thing from those who walk uprightly before Him. He loves us unconditionally, without reservation, without interruption and without reduction. His love is at maximum level all the time. He wants us to trust that Love. Know that it is His reason for caring for us like He does. That Love will never diminish, it will never fail. If you have received and reciprocate His Love, you are living The Rich Life! To reciprocate is to respond appropriately. Love is an action word. It requires more than just saying so. It is nice to hear the words, "I love you". But the words are empty unless there is some corresponding action that supports the sentence.

Our Father made every provision for The Rich Life for all of His children. It wouldn't make sense in the natural to be the child of a multi-millionaire and be living under a bridge begging for food. So it does not make sense in the spiritual realm either. If you haven't already done so, tap into the richness of our Father's Word. Bask in the luxuriousness of His Presence. Revel in His abundance. Delight yourself in Him and you will enjoy The Rich Life!