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Earthly Inheritances

    In Luke 12:13-21, we see someone come up to the Good Teacher and ask about what should be his part in the family inheritance, probably because he didn't get as big a share as he believed he deserved. How many times have we heard and seen this crop up in our lives? Jesus responds to the question with the truth that He did not come to be an arbiter of such minor details in life, but that we should be on guard against every form of greed. Greed and covetousness raise their ugly heads in many diverse situations. In this particular encounter with humanity, we do not know if the man had a legitimate gripe with his brother, but it would appear that this individual and his share of the inheritance was more important than having a godly relationship with his brother.

    In the verses preceding this encounter, Jesus was preaching about confessing Him before men, it would appear this man had this inheritance thing on his mind and completely blanked out about what Christ was saying. Do we not come into the hearing of a sermon on Sunday morning where something has grabbed our mind outside in the world and we don't put that thought away? The man desiring that the inheritance should be divided was as covetous as the man refusing to divide it. The love of money is indeed a root of all sorts of evil. (1Tim.6:10) Christ says that a life, if one has an abundance, does consist of those possessions. And to prove His point in His infinite wisdom, Christ shares with the man another of His wonderful parables.

    One point is that all of the accumulated wealth can build anxiousness instead of contentment. The rich man in the parable asks himself what he should do since he has no place to store his crops. Often, the trouble of how to keep our wealth is a greater chore or labor than that of acquiring it, and being able to enjoy it is still somewhere off in the future. The first thing we may do in the morning is check the stocks, which may often spoil our breakfast time and turn our attitude sour toward the rest of the day. Secondly, see the repetition of the word 'MY', my crops, my barns, my grain, my goods, my soul. He has no thought of God or that he should steward some of these goods for the poor. All these things will surely not give you a sense of ease but will gnaw away at you like a locust on a leaf.

    Life does not consist of our possessions and cannot keep the breath in a man for one moment. Alexander MacLaren states, "His life is required of him, not only in the sense that he has to give it up, but also in as much as he has to answer for it." If life is going to be what it ought to be, then our conduct will need to be what it should be. Christ's words are truth, there is no error in His teaching. His truths will set us free from the power of greed and covetousness. G.Campbell Morgan states, "The word which marks the Christian attitude toward life is not the word divide, it is rather the word share. Christ creates the love which is eager to give, to share, rather than to get, to divide." In verse 21 Christ concludes, "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." This is an antithesis, in other words, the two types of conduct are complete opposites. Let us not get caught up in greed and covetousness, but be rich toward God!

Elder Randy Slak