Friday, 19 February, 2021
Title: A consuming desire . . which consumes.
By: Ps Cheng Cheung
Luke 12: 15 And he said to them, “Watch out and guard yourselves from all greediness, because not even when someone has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
The parable of the rich fool is framed, before and after by two different dialogues Jesus had. The former was with a stranger who asked Jesus to take his side over the matter of his inheritance against his brother and the latter, with his disciples. What do these have to do with us today?
The subject in both was one’s attitude towards earthly possessions. In the case of the former, Jesus cut to the core of the man’s request, which was covetousness, not justice. After saying He would not be drawn into a family dispute, Jesus turned and ”said to everyone present” these strong words “ W͟a͟t͟c͟h͟ o͟u͟t and g͟u͟a͟r͟d͟ y͟o͟u͟r͟s͟e͟l͟v͟e͟s͟ from all greediness. ” That Jesus never used such strong language against adultery and drunkenness is an indication how serious this matter was to Him and should be to us. Perhaps it is because rarely do we see greed as a horrific sin. We say to ourselves there is nothing inherently wrong with professional success or business acumen and all the trappings that come with it – personal prosperity, peer acclaim and recognition. But at some point, a follower of Jesus Christ is apt to cross the line into enemy territory and is consumed with the desire to have more . . and more . . a͟n͟d͟ m͟o͟r͟e͟.
At this juncture the Lord tells the parable – the point of which is that one’s life does not consist or is not measured by possessions. We need to be clear, though, that the issue with greed is not the amount, but attitude. The poorest can be greedy, the richest can be generous and give away much of their wealth and not hoard it for themselves. With the rich fool, his problem was his self-centred values and what he chooses to do with his wealth.
The man is s͟e͟l͟f͟i͟s͟h͟. We know that in scripture whenever a word or idea is repeated, one needs to sit up and take note. When the words repeated are I and my, it shows the man is totally taken up with himself and his self-indulgent plans regarding his possessions. The advertising world has caught on by playing on this thought that you, the viewer, deserve to be pampered with the product proffered because you are worth it. It zeroes on an individual’s selfish streak.
The man is m͟a͟t͟e͟r͟i͟a͟l͟i͟s͟t͟i͟c͟ a͟n͟d͟ s͟p͟i͟r͟i͟t͟u͟a͟l͟l͟y͟ s͟h͟o͟r͟t͟-s͟i͟g͟h͟t͟e͟d͟. The security of the future he anticipates is directly proportional to the size of the barns he builds. Similarly, the world believes more barns equals more security. But by acquiring (for those who can afford this) bigger and bigger barns, there follows a big temptation to trust in barns and not in God. We who are spiritually discerned must never forget we have a very wealthy Heavenly Father who has promised to provide everything that we need.
As societies move toward first world status, it is common that h͟e͟d͟o͟n͟i͟s͟m͟ – the pursuit of sensual self-indulgent pleasure – creeps into its psyche and lifestyle. The man thought to himself “I have made it. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” Even though it is right to enjoy what we have, it is wrong to believe that pleasure is the highest aim of human life, as this man does.
And suddenly, God passes sentence on the rich fool and his life was demanded from him.
What about you? What would the verdict be if it were asked of you “Are you one who stores up treasure for himself, and not rich toward God?” Remember, the issue is not whether one is rich, but what is one’s attitude toward one’s worldly possessions. The example of Cornelius is striking:
Acts 10: 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
4 The angel (said) “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
How wonderful if the same could be said of our lives, instead of being likened to the sad end of the rich fool.
Heavenly Father, help me examine my life and values in the light of the attitude of the rich man whose life was demanded of him at short notice. Since I have opportunity to do so now, show me how I can change my selfish ways and make my life significant.
Help me be like Cornelius who was God-fearing and generous to those in need. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
在这个关头，主所告诉的比喻 — 重点是一个人的生命是不由财产来衡量的。但是，我们需要很明白并理解的是，贪婪的问题不是多或少的数量，而是态度。最贫穷的人可能会贪婪，最富有的人可能会慷慨大方，放弃他们的大部分财富，不为自己保存。对于无知的有钱人，他的问题是他以自我为中心的价值观以及他如何选择运用财富。
那您呢？如果问您， 您的裁决将是什么？ “您是一个为自己储藏财宝而不向上帝收集财富的人吗？”？请记住，问题不在于一个人是否富有，而是一个人对自己的世俗财产的态度是什么。哥尼流的例子是最引人注目：