Read Luke 12:15-21
As you might be able to tell, this is kind of a continuation of last week's lesson. Our question is, what does is mean to be "rich towards God?" But we're going to try to understand some things before we answer that.
First, what is it that the Rich Fool has done wrong?
He stored up his possessions for himself. Or more broadly, he loved his possessions and himself more than anything or anyone else.
Here are some other verses that talk about this idea; what is the key phrase that keeps coming up?
- 1 Tim 3:3 requires that a church leader must "not love money"
- Heb 13:5 "keep your lives free of the love of money"
- 2 Tim 3:1-5 lovers of money are included in a list of selfish, ugly traits, which concludes with "having a form of godliness but denying its power."
Does this list sound familiar? Does that pretty much describe the culture we live in? Maybe even ourselves? Do you have a form of godliness that has no power to change your life, or anything around you? Is that the God we know?
- 1 Tim 6:10 This is the famous one. (If you really want to understand what it says, read v.5b-10.) We Christians are quick to point out that this verse doesn't condemn money – "the love of money is the root of evil," we like to call attention to. And in that way, we can justify that its OK for us to have money, "just as long as we don't love it."
And as far as that goes, that's true.
But do you realize how hard it is to have money and not love it? Or, especially, how small of a distinction it is to want to keep your money (or want more of it), but say that you don't love it? It's such a fine line, it may as well not even exist. Instead, the "love of" clause becomes a convenient excuse for our wealth.
No. But it does mean that you need to be very, very careful that it does not control you. Just as in the parable of the talents, everything that you have, God has given you to use. If we ourselves belong to God (I Cor 6:19-20), how much more that things that we call "ours"? Everything you have is really His, and you should be ready to give it back the moment He asks for it. Remember, you cannot serve both God and Money.
What can the Rich Fool do with this wealth?
Let's return to the Rich Fool. In v.17, he says, "What shall I do?" There are only 3 choices that I can think of:
- Store/save it up. Jesus says, uh-uh.
- Spend it all immediately on himself. Think about that one for sec. I don't think that's where Jesus was going.
- Share. To give it away is the only option left.
You should be beginning to get the picture. But to really drive it home, let's go back to Paul's letter to Timothy. Read 1 Tim 6:11-12, 17-19.
What do these keywords tell us?
- pursue – It doesn't just "come" to us… we have to chase these things! They require work and diligence!
- put hope in God – like we talked about last week, God is worthy of our hope and trust, because he will take care of us
- for our enjoyment – God does not want us to be unhappy! Sometimes we think of God as some cosmic killjoy that just wants to take away anything that's fun, but that is NOT the case! It's okay to enjoy the things he blesses you with!
- rich in good deeds – Such a great phrase. Not only does it tell us to fill our lives with good deeds (think "make your life thick with good work"), but it also implies that our lives, our character will be richer for having done them. We are the ones who actually benefit from our own good deeds!
- Be generous… -- This is the ultimate way to show that money has no hold over you. In addition, it specifically spells out that this lays up treasure in heaven. So if you never how to put Matt 6:20 into practice, now you know!
- life that is truly life – Only God can give true life. You can chase after fulfillment, and try to create a meaningful life, for yourself, on your own… but you will end up losing yourself (Luke 9:24). Instead, if you give up control of your life to God, and live richly toward him without holding anything back, he will give you a life you never dreamed of!