“Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:13-15)
Teachers, or Rabbis in Jewish cultures, often mediate situations making decisions according and in accordance with Jewish laws. So the request was not too unusual. But this person in the crowd, I do not think, had an accurate understanding of who he was asking. Jesus was not about material possessions but living wisely and in harmony with others and creation. The story that Jesus is a good caution against putting worth in material possessions.
“Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Verses 16 – 21)
I’m not sure I need to do much more pondering or teaching on this. (But I cannot resist saying a little bit.) The message is clear; our purpose on this world is not to accumulate large amount of possession in this life and then take our ease. We take nothing in the world to come that we have materially collected in this world. Why would we deliberately not prepare for what is to come beyond this world? The Lord has given us our entire lives to prepare for the existence that comes after this one; why would we squander it on pursuits and endeavors that do not last? What we gain in this world more than what our needs are, we can and should help others.
Now this voice in the crowd might have had a legitimate dispute with his brother, and might have been asking only what was right and fair. We do not and cannot know (although some biblical commentators might think they can) so we should not be quick to judge. But . . .let us take the lesson from Jesus’ parable. Let us use what we have been blessed with to bless others. Whether it be ample possessions, abilities, talents, skills or knowledge – what we have, can do, and know can be a blessing to others! Let it be so – selah!