The Book of Luke, Beware of Greed, Part IV - Lesson 160
We will be in Luke 12:22-34 today.
We continue our study in Luke 12 where we have been witness to an event where we find Jesus and his disciples in the middle of a large unruly crowd.
We are witness to Jesus Christ teaching various segments and individuals of that crowd.
In verses 1‑12 Jesus addressed His disciples, speaking to them about the danger of hypocrisy, not the hypocrisy of trying to seem more spiritual than they were as the Pharisees did, but that of seeking to appear less spiritual than they were.
The irony of this type of hypocrisy is that in so doing they proved themselves less spiritual.
The motivation for this backwards kind of hypocrisy would have been fear of the crowds and their rejection and resistance to the gospel, and possible persecution.
In verse 13 the subject changed from hypocrisy to greed.
Jesus Christ knew the hearts of his disciples and knew that they, because of fear, may be tempted to decrease their boldness in proclaiming the Gospel, and they because of greed, may be tempted to follow after material things.
Because of this, Jesus used the opportunity presented by a man of the crowd who wished a judgment of Christ between himself and his brother, to teach an important parable about a rich farmer who pursued life by the accumulation of things.
Jesus Christ called the man a fool because he was not rich toward God but only rich toward himself.
One of the primary lessons that we are to learn from the Lord’s instruction is that the rich fool was foolish in failing to recognize where his wealth had come from for he discounted God as the provider.
The second thing we are to learn is that the rich fool erred in his understanding of the purpose of wealth.
Why does God give wealth?
Thirdly the rich fool was foolish in that he saw his possessions as his security, and as the basis for his ceasing to be productive.
This is a very common comfort sought by those who seek what they call their golden years to be simply a time of rest totally apart from former responsibilities.
As far as I know there is no retirement plan in God's work.
Fourthly the rich fool was foolish in his presuming upon God for a future.
And lastly the rich man was a fool both in the way he defined life and in the way he thought life was to be obtained.
Perhaps we have all said at some happy and prosperous time “Oh, this is the life” which is defining life other than the Bible defines life.
We find the word “life” frequently used in chapter 12.
To the rich fool “living” or “life” was defined in terms of ease and pleasure, in terms not just of eating and drinking, but of doing so in a way that was enjoyable.
And life was obtained by putting yourself and your wealth first.
One found life by seeking life for oneself and by ignoring others, including God.
Jesus told His disciples that the way for a person to obtain life was to give this life up, for this kind of life is not worth living nor investing time in.
Matthew 16:25, For whosoever will save his life (this kind of life based upon the accumulation of things) shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life (this kind of life based upon the accumulation of things) for my sake shall find it.
This man was saving his life in his barns.
Jesus came to bring true life.
Jesus Christ came, teaching men that He is “the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6; cf. John 10:10).
Paul therefore said that for him to live was Christ.
Christ is life, and if we have received Him by faith, He is our life.
There is no true life apart from Christ.
If you are to have life that is true life you must be in Christ.
Whatever it is that you call life apart from Christ is not life according to the scriptures.
Therefore, Jesus can command His disciples to give up their possessions, their self‑interest, and even their lives, to follow Him, for the things they give up are not life, but He is life, and he alone is life.
The rich man lived his life exactly the opposite to the way that Jesus taught His disciples to live.
Those who die in the pursuit of “life,” “living,” or “living it up” are aided by Satan, who is the murderer and not the giver of life, the murderer who leads men to death by promising them and causing them to pursue “life” wrongly defined.
The rich fool was correct to live his life in the light of the future.
But he was foolish in his concept of what the future held.
He assumed that he would be alive in the future, to enjoy the things he had stored up.
His grasp of the future did not include God nor the kingdom of God.
His future was entirely “this life” oriented, based upon this earth, based upon his senses, based upon what he could see and touch.
But Jesus’ teaching goes beyond that which can be seen, which can be touched or felt.
The teaching of Jesus Christ includes faith in God; a faith that focuses on the future.
It focuses on the promises of God for the future, even enduring present pain, persecution, and death in order to experience God’s promised blessings.
The expression “eat, drink, and be merry,” which we find in our passage, is one that is based upon the rich fool’s perception of what the future held.
In effect, the rich fool planned to “eat, drink, and be merry” because he believed that he would live.
For Christians, their view of the future is what enables them to die now, knowing that they will eat and drink in the kingdom of God.
We live by faith, not by sight!
Jesus Christ said plainly that for a man to invest his life in the accumulation of things was to place himself in the company of fools for life is not found in things.
But he does not leave us hanging as to what we should depend upon, for next in his teaching he introduces to his disciples a new paradigm shift in thinking.
A paradigm is a model, a pattern, an example, it is to show things side by side.
Jesus Christ shows, in verses 22-34 the other side, the other model, the other pattern that he expects of his disciples.
For he does not want his disciples to be fools, as the rich farmer was who invested his time in the accumulation of things, thinking that that is life instead of knowing true life in Jesus Christ.
For we read how the rich fool, the rich farmer spoke with himself revealing to us his trust in his goods, his much thought associated with his goods, and his much planning relative to his goods.
So here in verses 22-34 is the paradigm shift in thinking put forward by our Lord.
Jesus Christ is life, that is where life is found and that is where He wants his disciples to focus their time and their energies.
So he teaches them in:
Luke 12:22‑34, And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you,
By using the word “therefore” this saying then is predicated upon the foregoing parable, upon the much thought from the rich fool about his goods.
The rich fool takes much thought.
Jesus Christ says: Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
Right here is the paradigm shift in thinking that the Lord Jesus Christ is demanding of his disciples.
It is worldly to think like the rich fool who thought much about his life, it is spiritual to take no thought for your life.
It is worldly to worry about what you should eat, it is worldly to think that life lies in your body, it is worldly to worry whether you have something or not to put on.
He goes on:
23The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
This is kingdom teaching, this is kingdom preaching by our Lord.
This is getting in line with His kingdom.
This is flexing your spiritual muscles so that they are fit for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
There will be no concern for food, for raiment, for the body in His kingdom and there should be no concern for those things now because we are children of the king if we belong to Jesus Christ.
Every time I read this passage I think of the military.
For this passage is lived out in the lives of the recruits that Drill Instructors like Bill Carmichael train in military skills each and every day.
The civilian raises his or her hand and swears allegiance to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
Now what is his country obligated to do?
His country is obligated to provide his food, his clothing, and to provide for his bodily needs.
He is not to be concerned about these things for he knows that upon swearing allegiance to his country that those things will be taken care of.
He is to be concerned about his mission and his purpose in defending this land against its enemies, not concerned about providing for himself.
What would Sergeant Carmichael think of a recruit who worried over his next meal and peppered him with these questions.
Drill Instructor Sergeant Carmichael: Request permission to speak?
Permission granted Recruit!
Will there be any food today, Drill Instructor Sergeant Carmichael?
What am I going to wear when we go to the firing range?
Where am I going to sleep tonight?
Will the barracks still be here?
What about my bunk? Will someone take it?
What if I get hurt today? Will there be medical care?
What am I going to do about money?
In the midst of this barrage of questions this recruit would be stopped in his tracks for Sergeant Carmichael would think the man was loony for asking such questions for the military already operates according to the paradigm that Jesus propounds here.
He would tell him to stop thinking and to stop being anxious about things that are already taken care of.
Keep you thoughts on the mission, spend your strength in your training and learning and growing into a Marine.
He could well say to this recruit: Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
So this is a military command.
Being a child of God, being a child of the king on many occasions in the scriptures is pictured in a military sense.
2 Tim 2:3, Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Remember the favorite hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers
Remember the child’s song
I’m in the Lord's Army, (yes, sir!)
We may sing these songs without fully accepting that we are indeed in the Lord’s army and as such we are to fully depend upon the Lord for His provision.
And because you are in the Lord’s army you are to Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
This phrase “Take no thought”, means do not be anxious about your food, your body nor what should be put on the body.
Remember the song by Civilla and Walter Martin, “God will take care of you” written in 1904
Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
No matter what may be the test,
2 Chronicles 16:9, For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
To be anxious about things is as offensive to God as if your child would be filled with worry about these very things when you know full well that all his or her needs are your concern and you will take care of them.
Phil: 4:6, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.