The Begrudging Brother (Luke 15:11-32)

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”  (Luke 15:25-32)
 Learn it:

            Today we are looking at the parable to the prodigal son.  It is fairly well known, and I want to focus more on the older brother.  The one that has been faithful the whole time to his father, while his younger brother wasted away the inheritance he received.  The older brother represents the Pharisee’s in Jesus’ time.  They felt superior to other people and did not want everyone coming to know God.  They felt they had been loyal longer and God should bless them and not new converts. 

Towards the end of the parable the older brother is outside arguing with his father about the party and celebration that is going on.  The father, which represents God, is loving and compassionate.  He wants to celebrate the return of the lost son and he wants the older brother to join in.  The story ends with a cliff hanger.  We do not know how the older brother responds to is father’s invitation.  Is he going to go into the party and celebrate or is he going to stay outside and be bitter?  The reader is left to think about what they would do in that same situation.

 Live it:

            This parable shows the deep love of God.  He freely gives to us the ability to live our lives the way we want to.  We can squander all the blessings he has given us and yet he is there waiting to welcome us back.  He will forgive all sins.  Past, present, and future.  When a person repents of their sins and turns to God it is a cause for celebration!  Sometimes we can have jaded hearts and question whether a person has genuinely repented or not.  We then keep a close eye on them and maybe even find ways to test them to see if they have really changed.  Is that what a loving Christian should do?  Jesus Christ tells us we are to forgive them and welcome them into the body of Christ.  Of course, if a person does slip up then we are to address that, but we should not hold them at arm’s length and judge them.  If you were the older brother how would you respond to father’s invitation?  Would you go in and celebrate or would you stay outside? 


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The Lost Found (Luke 15:1-10)

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  (Luke 15:1-10)
 
Learn it:

            Over the past few weeks, Jesus has done a lot of teaching about the importance of surrendering your life to Christ and the consequences of that decision.  In chapter 15 he begins to shift gears and shows the heart of God in reaching the lost.  The Pharisee’s back then often condemned Jesus for how he spent so much time with the “sinners”.  Jesus wanted to show them how much God wanted to bring all people into a relationship with him.  He does it by sharing three parables, and we will look at two today.  The two parables are about a lost sheep and a lost coin.  Have you ever lost something and felt the anxiety over the loss?  How you cannot rest until you find it?  God wants people to know him and be in community with him. 

            The things that are lost are not extravagant, priceless things.  They are modest and it should show us that God is going to be searching hard for all people.  No one is too small or insignificant to him.  We also see that when the sheep and coin are found it is a cause for celebration!  All of heaven is going to rejoice when one person repents and surrenders their life to Christ!  If heaven is rejoicing then we should be rejoicing here on earth as well. 

 Live it:

            We are called to live a life patterned after the life of Christ.  He goes after all people and builds relationships with people who society may call unworthy.  Many times we like to stay in our comfort zone and not talk to people who are different than us.  We must not get complacent and push ourselves out of our bubbles!  We must talk to those neighbors that annoy us, or our co-workers that we’d like to avoid.  Maybe there is a family member who you’ve witnessed too many times and they keep rejecting the gospel.  Persevere.  Just like the shepherd had to take time and energy to find the one lost sheep.  We must take time and energy to love those that are lost.  How can you love your neighbor?  How can you have a conversation with a co-worker?  How can you communicate the gospel in a new way to your family member that it might click for them this time?  God did not give up on you so you should continue to be faithful in loving the lost.

 


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The Cost of Being a Disciple of Christ (Luke 14:25-35)

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  (Luke 14:25-35)
 Learn it:

            Jesus is now shifting gears and is beginning to prepare his disciples for his departure.  When Jesus leaves, he wants to make sure the disciples understand what it takes to follow after him.  He starts out by saying that Jesus must be the priority in their life.  Compared to how much they love Jesus, it should look as though they hate their family.  That is how much they are to love him.  That’s some intense love! 

            He goes on to tell two stories.  One is about a person planning to build a tower.  They need to have a plan a be sure they have all the supplies they need in order to build the tower.  They do not want to be close to finishing and then run out of supplies.  In the same way, when a person follows Christ, they need to understand what it is going to take.  It is always sad to see someone turn from their faith because they did not count the costs.              

            Next is a story about a king going to war.  If he sees he is not going to be able to win, he would be wise to make peace.  We too must make peace with God in our own lives.  He is the creator of the universe and no matter how smart we may think we are; we are not going to win eternity on our own strength.  We must surrender our lives to God.  He ends with what seems to be a confusing story about salt.  If salt has no usefulness, then it should be discarded.  If a disciple of Christ is not pursuing after things of God, they become useless to God.  This can raise serious implications like, was that person ever saved?  Or are they going to lose rewards or face judgment at the end times? 

 Live it:

            Deciding to become a follower of Christ should not be taken lightly.  To follow Christ means that you should give up your life, your desires, and your plans.  While we want people to know of the saving power of the cross, we want them to also understand what changes are going to occur in their life.  Have you thought about what you have sacrificed to follow Jesus?  Have you considered the cost?  We all should be pursuing things in our lives that glorify God.  How are you making him famous and humbling yourself to his ways?  I pray that God would reveal ways in your life and my life that we can lay our desires before him and he would guide us to where he wants us to go.   


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Give, Rather than Receive (Luke 14:1-24)

 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.

5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  (Luke 14:1-14)
 Learn it:

            Jesus is again going after the Pharisees again.  We see that they have hard hearts because they are now at the point where they are not talking with Jesus when he asks questions.  So, Jesus takes the opportunity to tell them a story.  It was typical of the culture back them for the most honored guests would show up late.  The point of the story is that it is better to be humble so that you can be honored than be prideful and be shamed.  Humility is not an emotion we naturally go to.  We like to be recognized.  The big question is, do we want to be recognized here on earth or in heaven?  

            Next, Jesus gives some advice on who to invite to your party.  He says that if a person wants to show true hospitality then they would invite people who cannot pay them back.  That is authentic hospitality.  If you invite someone over with the expectation of them reciprocating in the future, then that’s not hospitality.  I want to say, that’s not a bad thing to do.  That’s a way to build fellowship!  We want to bring others into the family of Christ and a good way to do that is by showing hospitality.      
 Live it:

            Being a follower of Christ means we have to set aside our pride and love those that are on the fringes of society.  It is so easy to love those that are the same as you but Christ was always challenging social norms.  Who do you know at work or in your neighborhood that could use a hand?  You can do it simply by inviting them over for dinner and getting to know them.  That will be so much more meaningful to them than you dropping off a meal for them.  Showing them what a Christian community looks like could have a powerful impact in their life.  Who can you invite over to your house for a meal? 


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No One Can Stop God’s Plan (Luke 13:18-35)

31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”  (Luke 13:31-35)

Learn it:

            I am going to focus on Luke 13:31-35.  Versus 18-30 are about the kingdom of God and the need to respond to the Gospel.  Jesus is making his case that people need to decide and they need to make sure they are going to enter through the narrow door.  If someone wants to enter into heaven, they must have a personal relationship with God. 

After saying those things, we get to verse 31.  The Pharisee’s are just looking for an opportunity to stop Jesus’ ministry.  They hear King Herod wants him dead so they hope they can keep their hands clean by telling this news to Jesus (13:31).  Jesus is not phased by this.  He confidentially tells them that he is going to continue his work.  He is not going to slow down!  He then turns and has compassion for them.  Israel is God’s chosen people and they are rejecting the Messiah.  God has loved his people and taken great care of them.  The hour is approaching where they need to make a decision on who Jesus is.  That day is coming soon.

Live it:

            For believers, this is a good section to know about for people who believe there are many ways to get into heaven.  Here it is clear that you have to know Jesus Christ and have a relationship with him.  He is the only way.  For followers of Christ, it should encourage us to make sure that we do have a close, personal relationship with him.  It is also a warning that God’s plans cannot be stopped.  Jesus was not afraid of Herod because he has authority over all of creation.  Jesus is very compassionate and gives people a chance to know him but a judgment day is coming.


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Freedom in Compassion (Luke 13:10-17)

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.  (Luke 13:10-17)

 Learn it:

            This is now the third time Jesus has healed someone on the Sabbath in front of Pharisee’s.  This story is very similar to the other three.  In this story, there is a woman who has been physically disabled for 18 years.  It also points out that the problem she was experiencing was caused by an evil spirit.  Jesus sees her, has compassion, and then heals her.  At this healing the Pharisee’s are upset!  According to them, if this had happened on any other day it would have been a cause for celebration.  Since it was done on the Sabbath, it broke God’s commandment and therefore was a sin.

            Jesus is showing that the new law he is bringing is going to change things a bit.  There is going to be more emphasis on compassion, grace, and mercy.  It’s not to say the Law is unimportant.  It is just that part of obeying God is showing compassion to others.  That is the point he was making in showing how the Pharisee’s showed compassion to their animals by walking them to get water.  How much more should we show mercy to someone who is enslaved by an evil spirit?  By healing her it gave her the ability to rest on the Sabbath day as well.  What better day for someone to be healed by God than on the Lord’s day? 

 Live it:

            This is not the first-time compassion has come up in the book of Luke.  We see the Jewish leaders has a real problem with showing compassion to people.  They always wanted to follow the law.  Which is commendable but when it ignores hurting people then God has a problem.  This is what we call legalism.  It’s a thing we, myself included, get stuck on.  For example, say on a Sunday morning we get a call that someone is sick, hurting or has some other issue where they need help.  Should we tell them we will be there right after church, or skip church and help them immediately?  I think the most compassionate thing we can do would be to skip church and help them right away.  That would be showing the love of Christ to that person. 

            We must have our eyes open to see people in need.  There might be great church activities that we may have to miss if it means we can show God’s love to someone else.  Now, we shouldn’t make a habit of missing things because fellowship with believers is critical to a person’s spiritual walk.  But it should not be something so sacred we cannot ever miss it.  As with all things in life we have to find a balance and be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do.


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We Have a Decision to Make (Luke 12:49-13:9)

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

13            Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

Learn it:

            This section of Scripture is intense.  This is a side of Jesus that some people like to ignore.  We see that Jesus came to bring division because when a person decides to follow him it may mean that they will be rejected by their family (12:49-53).  He knows they can predict the weather and now they have to look at his ministry and decide is he the Son of God or just a teacher (12:54-56)?  He then goes on to warn them that they are all indebted to God and we have to come clean to God one way or another (12:57-59).  We can either accept the offer of Jesus Christ as our Savior or there will be punishment.

            In chapter 13 he makes it clear that life is brief, and we do not know when we will die.  People who die young did not die because of their sin but because it was their time (13:1-5).  There is an urgency to the decision we have to make on who Christ is, otherwise, we will be cut down like the fig tree (13:6-7).  Even though there is urgency God is patient with us but someday his patience will stop (13:8-9).      

Live it:

            As a follower of Christ, this section makes me think about the decision I made to follow Christ.  Did I lose relationships because of my decision?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely.  What about the people I know that do not believe in Jesus Christ?  This section should put a burden on me to tell them about Christ.  They need to know there is a loving, merciful God who loves them and wants to be in a relationship with them.  God wants to spare them from being separated from him for eternity.  Pray that God would use you and he would open their eyes to the truth of the gospel. 


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Are You Ready for the Return?  (Luke 12:35-48)

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:35-48)

Learn it:  

In this passage Jesus is giving a warning to all people that we have to be ready. We must be dressed for service and always have our lights on. The first parable is about how we do now know when Jesus will return so we have to be ready at any moment for his return. We have to be like the people waiting for the master to return at any moment. We cannot slack off. As Christians, we never stop doing Kingdom work. We always look for ways to serve and give glory to God. Just like a good babysitter who is expecting the parents to return at any time. They want to be caught doing something good and not bad. We must live our lives the same way.

The second half of the passage talks to us about not getting lazy. We have to continue to love God’s people. The way we live our lives now will affect our eternity. We could enter heaven with just ourselves our there is a possibility of entering in with rewards. It is all about how we will live our lives now.

Live it:

Do you live your life expecting that Jesus could come back at any moment? It is a hard to keep your mind with that kind of focus. It is so easy to think, “It’s been 2000 years since he left, what are the odds he will return today?” We assume he won’t be back today so we live the way we want to and say, “I’ll do better tomorrow.” We cannot think like that. We must live our lives expecting Jesus to come back right now. How do you want Jesus to catch you living your life? No one wants him to come back in the midst of sinning. How can you make serving God the priority in your life?


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Don’t Worry, Be Generous (Luke 12:22-34)

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Luke 12:22-34)

Learn it:

            In the section before these Jesus taught a parable that warned against storing up wealth.  He now begins to address the topic more head-on.  He begins by telling his disciples not to worry about material things in their lives.  They should not worry about food, physical appearances, or what we will wear.  God will provide for us in every way that we need.  We should not worry ourselves to death making sure we have enough.  We must trust that God will get us through because all of that worrying will do nothing positive for us. 

            Jesus bases God’s goodness on nature.  He provides food for the ravens.  The lilies are considered beautiful and they are that way naturally.  Since God cares so much for animals and nature, how much more will he care for humans who are made in his image?  It should be the unbelievers who are pursuing material things because they do not know there is something much better waiting for us.  In response to trusting that God is going to provide for us, we should live a generous life.  Knowing that the things we have are from God and so we should us them how God wants us too.  That is to take care of the widows and the poor.  Knowing our true treasure is in heaven.

Live it:

            This is one of those passages that is nice to read but it difficult to live out.  It is in our nature to want to store up and make sure we have secure financially.  As a husband, and new father, I want to make sure my family will not go hungry and will have a place to live.  It can be hard to be generous when we do not have a large budget to live on.  Yet that is exactly what Jesus calls us to do.  He wants us to be generous with the things we have.  The only way we can be generous is if we truly believe that Jesus will provide for us.  This is an area that God has been working on me the most as an adult.  Being generous with my money.  Knowing that my true treasure is in heaven.  Nothing I by here will ever compare to being with Jesus in heaven.  How are you being generous?  Are you generous at work?  With your neighbors?  Are you tithing?  If you look at how you spend your money, where does it say your treasure is?   


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Our Attitudes Concerning Wealth (Luke 12:13-21)

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 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.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’

20 “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?’

21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”  (Luke 12:13-21)

Learn it:

            Jesus and the disciples are still among a crowd when someone shared a dispute that is going on between him and his brother.  Jesus does not want to be forced to pick sides and decides to teach on the heart of the issue, greed.  He teaches on this issue by using a parable.  In this parable, a farmer happens to have a good year with his harvest.  He then focuses on how he can keep it all for himself.  Notice in the story how many times the word “my” is used.  “My” crops, “my” barns, “my” grain, “my” goods.  He is really focused on himself. 

            Jesus brings his point home in verse 20 when he calls the man a “fool!”  Then he offers up the challenge of if you died tonight, “who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”  The answer is someone besides you will get it.  The point is, you do not get to keep it with you when you die.  Jesus wants people to be generous with their money and use it to build up the Kingdom of God.  He often encourages people to bless the widows and the poor with their money.  Help those who are less fortunate than you. 

Live it:

            I want to point out that this story is not condemning wealth.  The man-made gained his wealth through hard work.  But it was God that really produced the good harvest through the weather.  The thing Jesus was condemning was the man’s attitude toward wealth.  It was all about him and how comfortable he could be.  Jesus teaches we need to be generous with our wealth.  We have to use it for God’s glory and not our own.

 

            We are all going to be held accountable someday before God about how we use our money.  It’s an area in my life God’s had to work on because I want to have financial security, pay bills, and get groceries.  But often, I was holding on the more cash then I needed and wasn’t giving properly to a local church.  God has grown me in that, and I still have a ways to go.  I encourage you to look at your own life.  How are you managing your finances?  It takes a leap of faith to give sacrificially of your money.  But God is trustworthy and the times I’ve been generous with my money God always makes sure I have enough to survive on.  


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