Friday, May 13, 2011

Fool! This Night your Soul is Required




“Fool! This night your soul is required” (Luke 12:20)

Do you treasure the pleasures of this world more than the treasures of the eternal kingdom? Jesus gives us a parable in Luke 12 that addresses the danger of worshiping the temporary joys of this world. This is not a parable against wisely planning for the future but rather a warning against covetousness and arrogantly believing our time is in our hands.

This passage refutes the idea of the “American Dream.” We have been fed the lie that we need to work more hours to make more money in order to obtain more stuff. But Jesus warns us: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (15). Jesus is talking to his disciples when “someone in the crowd” wants Jesus to act as judge between a dispute with this man and his brother. Jesus gives the warning to his disciples to guard against covetousness because it lures us into worldly thinking. As Christ’s disciples we can tend to get caught up in the trappings of this world. Satan and our flesh want us to forget that we are aliens and strangers in this world (1 Peter 2:11). Temptations to covet are all over the place so we need to heed Jesus’ warning to guard against covetousness.

After warning against covetousness he gives us a reason for not coveting: “For one’s life does not consist in abundance of his possessions.” As sojourners in this world Christians ought to understand this world is passing away yet we are able to do kingdom work while we are here. This is where true value is found. Jesus goes on: “And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (16-19). This man’s arrogance is jumping off the page as we read the story. This man is not thinking about others or eternity but rather how will he be able to store all his possessions. What does Jesus say about this man? “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you” and then he asks the man a question: “And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” The correct response is God’s. The possessions have always been God’s because he is the one who gives life and breath and a job and earnings and so on and so forth.

Christian, are you caught up in the “American Dream”? The point is not your possessions but rather holding them so tightly that they become what you worship. God will not accept second place. And in order to live life to its fullest here, God must have first place in your heart. He owns your possessions so give him praise for what he has blessed you with in this life. Humbly acknowledge that they are gifts from his hand to help advance his kingdom.

If you are not a follower of Christ and you are living to gain all that the world has to offer to fulfill your desires, you are sadly caught in the lie of Satan. You will never be fully satisfied placing your hope in the fleeting pleasures of this world. In the end you will have gained…nothing. You may think you have all sorts of time to acquire possessions all the while rejecting the greatest treasure, Christ. Then the time will come when God will say, “Fool! Tonight your soul is required of you.” How foolish it will be to have all your possessions left behind. Jesus says elsewhere, “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul. For what can a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matt. 16:26)? I promise your possessions are no exchange for your soul but only trusting in Christ’s finished work. He came to the world to rescue sinners by his life, death and resurrection. Trust in him and find eternal pleasure and endless joy.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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