Used and Loved

Here is your regular, friendly reminder to get your daily dose of wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

As working through the book of Luke with our youth group, I was inspired to write about some things. I had a great idea for a passage from Luke 12, but my theology was rocked so hard that I will wait on that one! Instead, I am going with one of the other ideas from that chapter.

The Parable of the Rich Fool

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

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

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

“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. 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.”’

“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?’

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

Stuff and People

There are two ways to handle stuff and people in this life, and our youth group is intelligent enough to notice! In their words:

“We can use things and love people or love things and use people.”

We can get so caught up in what is ours and what is not ours that we can forget about people.

For example, someone in the crowd may have just lost his parents, yet he is more concerned with getting his share of the inheritance than mourning. This shows one aspect.

Another aspect is that his brother is clearly there, otherwise Jesus could not tell him to share the inheritance. What really makes this poignant is that Jesus had just finished talking about avoiding hypocrisy, so we know what the first man was really getting at: that he judged his brother a hypocrite. (What does this show of him, then?)

One further aspect is that our own selfishness and greed gets in the way of another relationship. This man is talking with a wise leader, he might even know this is the Messiah. Instead of actually listening to the teachings (meaning taking them to heart and learning from them), he tries using this Teacher to get what he wants.

How many times do we go to God asking for things instead of seeking His will?

One more thought: Who gets rebuked?

At first, it looks like a rebuke of the man wanting his inheritance. “‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed’.”

It is as if Jesus is saying, “Dude! Get over it! Stop being so greedy!” (Also, He was and is the perfect judge and arbiter, but He was making another point)

But then He goes on. He tells us about a man who became quite wealthy and hoarded it all. This certainly sounds like the brother was being rebuked for his greed at the same time the original brother was being rebuked for his greed.

WHOA! Jesus is a great multitasker!

One man was not worried about his family and used God to get what he wanted. The other man also was not concerned about his family, instead holding onto his new possessions.

Used and Loved

Both of these brothers were guilty of breaking the greatest commandment(s): “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

We can be guilty of the same (in fact, we all are: Romans 3:22-24).

We use people and God to get the things we want, when we should be using things and loving God and people.

Instead of a question this week, a suggestion:

Check yourself. Find out where your heart is: with things or with God?

  1. Great post, friend!

    • Thank you! God gave the idea to our wonderful Youth Pastor, and He inspired many of the words here.

  2. So, is this saying that if we build up things and we are rich towards God we’ll be good or that we can’t build up things and be rich towards God at the same time?

    • Yes.
      Some people can handle having things and some can not. That is just the way it is. Some people can amass a large fortune with many things and still be the most pious person alive.

      Most of us fall in the middle, but I think it comes from a lack of commitment to following God in every area of our lives.

      Also, this is a bit of a rebuke against the Church at large (regardless of denomination or theology). Too many congregations/denominations/synods/whatever fall into the trap of following a personality or having the best whatever (band, building, ministry style, etc.). Again, this stems from losing focus on following God in every area. Trying to serve God? Sure. But serving and following are not always the same.

        • Chris
        • October 27th, 2012

        I have to agree, though I do believe that having the best of stuff is not necessarily a trap but is following of Jesus, though boasting of it as a personal accomplishment is rather useless and dangerous.

      • Amen

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