How to Be Rich Towards God Luke 12:13-21
The parables of Jesus give us an opportunity to look at principles that Jesus was communicating about the Kingdom of God and how we should live as followers of Jesus. Through parables, Jesus’ goal was to teach people what God and his kingdom are like, as well as what God intends for his people.
In Luke 12 Jesus is teaching when a man asks him to judge a family matter, Jesus’ response is not to arbitrate the matter but takes the opportunity to teach about the Kingdom through sharing a parable and he speaks to our heart in relation to our money and our possessions. Jesus warns against all forms of greed because greed can distract us from living as God intended.
This parable does require us to reflect and examine our own lives and ask questions like how do I feel about what God has given to me? Is it mine? Am I a steward of what has come my way? Am I generous? Do I take the things God has given to me and store them up for my own purposes? Do I seek to grab what others have? Both the wise use of resources and greed are addressed here, because they tend to impact each other.
The implications of this text extend beyond simply what we do with what we have. How we relate to others and what we leave for them is also in view. Even in the Old Testament the corners of the fields were left for those in need (Deut. 24:19–22) — a principle the rich fool ignored in his storing up goods just for his own use. We must ask ourselves about the most basic resources of the earth: Is it right for us in some parts of the world to consume the vast amounts of food and other resources when others have little of any access to such benefits?
Jesus does not speak against wealth or possessions or working hard, in fact Jesus affirms these, rather he speaks against the attitude the farmer shows towards only being concerned for himself and his own needs.
Take a few minutes to discuss the parable and ask why God called him a ‘fool’? (Greed, no concern for others, lost purpose, he was not rich towards God)
Jesus is reminding us through the parable that we are not defined by our possessions rather the Kingdom principle is that as Christ followers we should use wisdom in the area of how we handle our money and how we can be rich towards God.
The bible describes us as ‘rich’, statistics affirm that living in Australia puts you in top 20% of wealth throughout the world, this study is not written to make anyone feel guilty about the many blessings we have in our lives, rather for us to see these blessings as an opportunity to be generous towards others and in turn to God. So how can we be rich towards God?
Contentment is one of the greatest gifts we can possess; in fact today contentment in life is a rare commodity. Take a few minutes to discuss the following scriptures:
1 Timothy 6:6-8
What do these scriptures teach us about greed and how we should act?
Followers of Christ throughout history have been marked as generous people, in their deeds, acts of kindness, selfless service and giving. Often these attributes are exactly the opposite message that a consumer orientated society upholds and values, yet we live according to Kingdom principles. Take a look at the following scriptures and discuss their impact on our lives and what happens to you when you are generous to others:
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
1 Timothy 6:16-19
"The use of our possessions is a revelation of one’s true self" – Snodgrass
When we make generosity a lifestyle we are being rich towards God and our lives become a river of blessing to others rather than focusing on just our own needs.
Live with Eternal Purpose
The man in the parable had lost his purpose and forgotten about honouring God, serving others and using his wealth to live beyond himself only to become self-absorbed. Being rich towards God has an eternal impact and fills us with purpose. Read and discuss the following scriptures:
Luke 12:22-24, 34
A closing thought is that some commentators also suggest that this parable is also a metaphor for the Church; we are rich because of God’s love towards us; we have the wealth of the gospel and as stewards we need to share with others, it is an interesting thought!
Finish with reflecting on what you have heard and learned and talk about one thing that you can change and start to do that reflects being ‘rich towards God’, then finish by praying for one another that generosity will be a normal part of our lifestyle as followers of Christ.