During the ministry of Jesus the religious leaders known as the Pharisees had a saying about material wealth, “Whom the Lord loves He makes rich.” They believed wealth was an indication of God’s approval. There are some preachers today who seem to have that same notion. Jesus did not agree with this point of view. Jesus saw this thinking as evidence of greed.
“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.” Luke 12:15 (NIV)
Jesus shared the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21) to illustrate his teaching. This was the story of a man who had so much grain he didn’t know what to do with it. Rather than share his excess with the poor, he decided to build bigger barns and hoard his abundance for himself. Then without warning the man died, leaving his great wealth behind. Because the man put his trust in his personal wealth rather than God, he had nothing with which to provide blessing and comfort in the life beyond.
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:21 (NIV)
Jesus was teaching that material needs are far less important than spiritual needs. He also taught that trusting God removes anxiety because God is far more capable of supplying our needs than we could ever be. What we eat, what we wear, where we live, what kind of car we drive, are all trivial matters next to our need to store up treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33) by serving others.
“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” Luke 12:23 (NIV)
Those who are wealthy with material gain tend to become slaves to their possessions. Jesus taught that we are far better off becoming slaves to God by serving others. He made the point that your treasure is a reflection of your heart (Luke 12:34). If your treasure is in heaven, as a result of serving God, that is where your heart will be as well. Those who do not know God run around chasing material wealth. Those who know God rest in the knowledge that He will always take care of them.
“For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:30-31 (NIV)
According to Jesus, our best investment will be serving God by serving others.
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