The world tells us about its riches, it’s wealth, it’s pleasures – and entices us to purchase them for ourselves, to pile them up for ourselves, to take comfort in them.
Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Luke 12:15 NLT
Those who would continue to oppress the poor and build up their own wealth find ways to convince us that we will be fulfilled by a nicer car, a more important job/title, a bigger house, a life filled with more pleasure or entertainment, a life filled with our feeding our wants. And at what cost do we buy into these advertisements, these lies? At what cost do we give up contentment and faith in the Lord to provide and we instead seek more.
It isn’t as much about where we are at this moment, whether we are rich or we are pool, but it definitely matters what we are clinging to. If we have less than others, we have much reason to praise the Lord, because He provides for us and we get to experience His love through our faithful brothers and sisters who help us and He blesses us with the opportunity to receive. If we have more than others, we have much reason to praise the Lord, because He humbles us in teaching us to hand over those possessions within our authority to manage for His glory and He blesses us with the opportunity to give. And this is the loving flow of His ministry through our lives, helping one another, not claiming possessions as our own, not piling up treasures on earth, but understanding that all is His and we are simply to be good stewards of His resources, loving and serving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
But doesn’t greed try to get in the way of our destination? Doesn’t fear and distrust of our fellow man cause us to praise along the path, doesn’t it try to stumble us and entice us to look back? But the Lord has freedom from slavery lying ahead of us, friends. And the Lord is parting the seas so that we may walk across on dry land. Do not look back like Lot’s wife, but look forward to God’s purpose and will for our life.
I wonder how many of us struggle with that great attachment to our possessions, or to our jobs, or to our positions of authority, or to loyalty to other people or family above our loyalty to God. If the Lord took it all from us, would we fall on our knees and praise Him like Job?
Or would we curse His name or accuse Him of treating us unjustly when we have acted religiously for so long? Would we find ourselves like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son – who has lived in his father’s house for his whole life, but who never really appreciated his father, never really sought a close and loving relationship with his father, who never realized the blessings that were his to enjoy, but who instead saw life in his father’s house as a sacrifice, as a burden, as a requirement of eventually receiving his birthright.
Empty religion teaches you about sacrificing a piece of your possessions today to buy yourself a ticket of reward later. But Christ tells us that we can lay down our whole life and take up our cross, that we can have a relationship with our Heavenly Father this side of eternity, that we can participate in His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. He tells us that we can be the body of Christ today, loving and serving one another, giving open handedly to those who are needy, and lending to those who ask – not for profit, not for reward, but to share His blessings, His love, with those around us.
And what room does this call of discipleship leave for greed? Doesn’t our yearning heart cry out for Jesus? Would we not hand it all over to Him for just a kiss of His presence upon our face? Don’t we know who the Lord God Almighty is, creator of Heaven and earth, who came to rescue us as slaves from sin and death, who sent His Son, His very Word become flesh to dwell among us, to live a perfect life of example and teaching to die upon the cross, to be buried in a tomb, and to be raised to eternal life and eternity and authority, as the firstborn, as the witness and proof of God’s faithful and true promises.
You see, we too have died to our old selves, our old lives are covered in the blood of Christ, and we are raised to new life eternal, so that we can bring this Good News to those captives still in slavery to sin and death, so that we can bring sight to those blind to the enticements of greed, so that we can bring liberty to those who are captives to pride and temptation. So let us lay down our greed. Let us lay down our longing for the treasures of this earth, and set our eyes upon things eternal and valuable. Let us see past this temporary life and all those things that will return to dust.
Let us know or value in the eyes of God as His speed child and faithful servant. Let’s fight this good fight, let’s run this race to its completion.
If we are to claim something as our own, let us claim Christ and Christ alone.
God bless you friend, may you hear His message and not just my words, and may His voice be clear and recognizable and undeniable as that of the Good Shepherd who loves you and calls you by name. He is calling you today friend, to a closer walk with Him. Draw near, draw closer, and draw even closer still, until His presence is upon your life and His Spirit is walking with you in your faithfulness and obedience. Amen.