True Wealth

Introduction: All of us can identify with wanting to have enough money to get by in our life. The problem is, just what is enough? No matter how much we may have, we may feel that it is never quite enough. We have seen how dividing an inheritance can divide families. One of the saddest examples of this I have witnessed is many years ago as a hospital chaplain I was called to a room where a patient had just died. As I entered the room, I introduced myself to the family and listened as they talked about their loved one's death. After I said a prayer, they then shared how they were hopelessly divided over where their loved one should be buried!

I: Jesus has been followed by so many people Luke states they are trampling on each other. Jesus addresses his disciples and warns them of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. He tells his disciples that they must know that everything they do will one day be made known. He then tells the crowd to be more concerned for their soul than their body. For one can have someone kill but that is all they can do, rather worry about He who can kill both body and soul. After this, someone in the crowd speaks out and asks him to arbitrate between he and his brother in a dispute over their inheritance. 

II: Jesus, instead of involving himself in this conflict, warns the people of the insidious nature of greed. To drive this point home, he tells them a parable about a man with a great crop who decides to tear down his barn and create a storage area suitable for his extensive crop. Against this backdrop, the religious Jew saw wealth as a sign of God's favor. The assumption was that if someone had many possessions, one must have found favor with God.

III: To drive his point home, Jesus then says that this "smart" man, who has seemingly planned for his retirement, will end up dying that very night! There can be no doubt that Jesus is inviting a comparison to the man seeking help getting his just inheritance. The man who has gained so much, like their father who is now dead, will have no say in how his inheritance, which he has labored a lifetime to achieve, will now be given to others and will have no say in how it is spent. Much as their father has no say in how the inheritance is being split up. Instead of worrying about the treasure one has, one should worry about how the treasure is being shared with others. Our true wealth will be determined not by what we have, but what we give away.