Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” –Luke 12:15
Jesus told a story about a rich man who was a good businessman with a good business plan. He had been successful in his agricultural industry. His crops had produced. He was looking over his physical plant and realized he didn’t have the facilities to store his crops. What’s a good businessman to do? Build a bigger warehouse, of course. Typical of a successful business owner, he saved his profits. He was able to say, “I’ve got enough now to kick back and take it easy; eat, drink, and be merry.”
Yet, Jesus unfolds the story as follows: “But God said to him, ‘You fool!’ This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'” (Luke 12:20) Ouch. The rich man gets the bad news: your life is over and you can’t take your riches with you.
What did this guy do that was so bad? Should every business be non-profit? Should there be no planning for the future or retirement? Should there be no enjoyment of life and the fruit of our own labors? One might reasonably draw these conclusions as a first impression.
Fortunately, Jesus steps in with the moral of the story. It’s not really about business acumen or profits, but life perspective. Jesus concludes the story with, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” The rich man’s problem was not that he had material wealth, but that he was not humble before God. He demonstrated no concern for God’s place in his life. The rich man left God out of his life, and in the end he was left with nothing.
There is nothing inherently wrong with having hopes and dreams for the future, with developing your potential, with growing your business, with saving for your future. But, the most important issue is this: are you rich towards God? Apart from this, all other things amount to nothing. Personal achievements and personal kingdoms never last.
Be humble before God. Invite His participation and partnership in your life. Seek to develop your relationship with Him. Give Him the rightful place as Lord in your life. If you do this, you’ll be in a secure place–with treasures stored for eternity–that no one or no thing, not even death, can take away.
1. Identify things, people, or pursuits in your life that keep you from being rich towards God.
2. What action steps can you take to reorder your priorities?
James 4:13-17; Matthew 6:31-33, 16:26; Psalm 127:1