Sermon preached at Poole Christian Fellowship on 3 February 2013
Listen to this talk (or download – right-click here and ‘Save as’):
Reference: Luke 12 v 13-34
The passage opens with a question from one of the crowd. In fact it was quite within the rules of convention for someone with a question or a grievance about the law to go to the Rabbi for an opinion or a judgement.
But in this case, as often with Jesus, he sees beyond the question to the issue behind the question.
The things we bring to Jesus are not necessarily the things he would see as a priority for us. There is a far more important issue behind the man’s request than the one he brings up. The real issue is greed, his attitude to possessions and especially to money. And this is the main theme of what we are looking at today.
1. Focus on the Fool (v13-21)
Jesus doesn’t say that the questioner is a fool – but he certainly deals with him very abruptly, and then tells a parable about a man who God calls a fool – so draw your own conclusion!
The main point of this section is a warning: Beware! Just as Jesus warned previously that we should beware of false religion and hypocrisy so he is now warning us to beware of something that will sap our spiritual life, keep us away from God and cause us to lose out in eternity: Greed, in all its various forms This is someone who uses what God has given him not to bless others but to build up a false security for himself, that he will never get to enjoy anyway! How many people are going through exactly that cycle?
This parable hits home not only to those who are well off, but to those who are less so. The question that we all have to answer is – what do we do with what God has given us?
The answer is that what we should be ”rich towards God”.. This means that with everything God gives us, time, gifts, possessions and above all money we need to be generous to him. After all…it belongs to Him anyway!
2. Focus on the Father (v22-31)
Part of the reason that we think like the fool sometimes is that we have not experienced God as our Father.
Worry is a direct result of not trusting our Father. When we worry we are effectively saying to our Father: I don’t trust you to look after my interests. I need to take care of them myself. Jesus shows through a serious of illustrations how foolish this is. The antidote: we seek first his kingdom: that means that in every decision we make, we put first the interests not of ourselves but of the kingdom of God. And God promises that when we do this, every single need of ours will be taken care of. What a deal!
3. Focus on the Future (v 32-34)
Finally Jesus wants us to focus on the future. Note the tender way in which he addresses his flock “Do not be afraid little flock” is full of compassion and love.
He says that God has given us the Kingdom – all the benefits of God’s government are ours, now and in eternity. And because we have everything in eternity we can be confident in the present. We do not need to store up for ourselves treasures on earth – we have treasures in heaven which will never perish, spoil or fade. Let’s work for treasure that lasts for eternity.