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.

My Prayer

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.

每日灵粮
星期五,2021年2月19日
标题:一种吞噬性的强烈欲望
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:林良億姐妹

路加福音12:15 于是对众人说:“你们要谨慎自守,免去一切的贪心,因为人的生命不在乎家道丰富。”

无知财主的比喻是在耶稣两段对话的前后被提出来的。前一段对话是有位陌生人要求耶稣吩咐他的兄长和他分家业,而另一段则与耶稣的门徒。今天,这些对话与我们有什么关系呢?

两者的主题都是一个人对尘世财产的态度。就第一段而言,耶稣切入了陌生人要求的核心,就是贪婪而不是正义。耶稣说祂不会陷入家庭纠纷之后,转过身来,用强烈语言对所有在场的人说:“你们要谨慎自守,免去一切的贪心”。耶稣从未用过如此强烈的语言来反对通奸和醉酒,这表明这件事对祂和对我们来说应该是多么严重。也许是因为我们很少将贪婪视为可怕的罪。我们对自己说,事业上的成功或商业敏锐性以及随之而来的陷阱(个人繁荣,同事的赞誉和认可)并没有本质上的错误。但是在某个时候,耶稣基督的跟随者越过了界限进入敌人的领土,并被渴望拥有更多的欲望所吞噬。

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。

这个人是自私的。我们知道,在圣经中,每当重复一个词或一个想法时,都需要坐下来写笔记。当“我”和“我的”这两个词重复出现时,表明该人已经完全沉迷于自己和他对自己财产的自我陶醉计划。广告界抓住了这思想并把它流行起来:身为观众的您应该利用这产品来宠爱自己,因为您是值得的。这是利用个人的自私心态。

这个人是唯物主义的,缺少了心灵上的展进。他所期望的未来与他所建造谷仓的大小是成正比的。同样,世界相信更多的谷仓等于更多的保障。但是,通过收购(对于那些负担得起的人)越来越大的谷仓,随之而来的是一种很大的诱惑,那就是要相信谷仓而不是上帝。我们在属灵上有见识的人决不能忘记我们有一个非常富有的天父,他曾答应提供我们需要的一切。

随着社会向第一世界的地位迈进,人们通常会追求享乐主义,而这也潜移默地影响着人的心理和生活方式。人告诉自己:“我做到了。现在放轻松!吃喝玩乐吧!”即使享受我们所拥有的东西是对的,但像他一样,相信快乐是人类生活的最高目标却是错的。

忽然,上帝对那位无知的财主宣判了刑期,夺了他的生命。

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:

使徒行传10:2 他和他的家人全都虔诚敬畏上帝。他慷慨地捐助了那些需要帮助的人,并经常向上帝祈祷。
4b 天使说:你的祷告和你的周济达到神面前,已蒙记念了。

如果我们的生活也如此,那真是太棒了,而不是被比作财主的悲惨结局。

我的祷告:天父,请帮助我审视我的生活和价值,就像财主的态度,就像生命在短时间内被要回了。由于我现在有机会这样做,所以向我展示如何改变自私的方式并使我的生活变得有意义。帮助我像哥尼流一样,他是敬畏上帝的人,对需要帮助的人很宽容。奉耶稣的名祷告,阿们。