The Reading: Luke 12:15-21
“I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones” (v.18) RSV
Sometimes the theme of money is thought to be slightly unspiritual. And yet it is a frequent subject in the New Testament. Our use of our money and possessions is one of the clearest thermometers of our spiritual temperature. Unless our pocket or purse is converted, then we are keeping our love of money away from God’s influence. And as we know, “the love of money is the root of all evils”
(1 Tim. 6:10). Note that money is not the problem, but “the love of money”!
Jesus taught about paying taxes (Matthew 22:15-22), he told a parable about using talents (the currency at the time) (Matthew 25: 14-30), and finally he was betrayed for money (Luke 22:5-6). Ananias and Sapphira died for lying about their giving (Acts 5:1-11). Simon the magician was castigated for trying to buy the power of the Spirit (Acts 8:13-24).
The world’s bankers have shown that short term targets and greed are a toxic mix. Just like the man in our parable today, they are not satisfied with their wealth, but must always expand. In our story the result was different, he died and in that way lost his wealth. With bankers and others who try to amass colossal fortunes the result may be a catastrophic loss of capital not only for themselves but for others as well. Either way the lesson is the same. We cannot, or rather must not, live for money and ever more money. If we do, it becomes mammon and it will gobble us up.
The bible speaks much of money, its blessing and its curse, but the message is always the same, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness …” (Matt. 6:33). If we do not then whether we die prematurely or whether we lose our fortune we shall be called a “Fool!” (v.20). We are to lay up treasures for ourselves with God. This means investing time and energy in worship, prayer and acts of kindness. This way we will become a conduit for wealth and not a hoarder.
Deliver me O Lord from the love of money. May I love you first, seek you first and serve you first. Amen.
1 What is our attitude to be, whether rich or poor?
Philippians 4:11, Hebrews 13:5
2 Did Jesus tithe his life?