Do you trust God? I mean do you really trust God, or have you placed your hope in something other than Him? In Luke 12 we encounter a man who put his trust in his possessions rather than in God. The reason was that he thought they would bring him happiness, comfort, relaxation, and protection. Does not this hold true? It is what the world tells us is the key to happiness. We see this message portrayed through countless magazine ads, movies, television shows, and bill boards plastered on our cities walls. However, Jesus has something different in mind. Lets pick up the narrative in verse 13.
A man in the crowd, who has obviously not been listening to Jesus’ teaching, says to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replies by asking him, “who has made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Then Jesus turns to the crowd and gives them this command: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” With that one sentence Jesus shakes up the world’s idea of possessions. He tells us that our life does not consist in our possessions, or you could say it this way, our possessions are not an essential element for our life. We do not need them to live. This immediately prompts the question, well, what do we need to live? This is exactly what Jesus is going to tell us, but in order to do so, he gives us an illustration in the form of a parable.
Jesus tells us that the land of a rich man produced plentifully and as a result he had no where to store the excess. His barns were not big enough to hold the crop, so he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. After building the new barns and storing his excess crop in them, he believes that his life is now complete. His soul can now enjoy rest and relaxation, and he can eat, drink, and be merry. This man believed possessions were essential for his life. Without them, he could not enjoy life, nor could he live. This is because this man trusted in himself, rather than in God.
Notice throughout the parable the heavy use of the first person pronoun “I” and “my”. This shows the man had no regard for anyone other than himself, nor did he recognize that his riches and excess crop came from God. Notice in verse 16, the text tells us that “the land” produced the crop. God, as the sovereign ruler of this world, provided for this man, but he still did not trust in the Lord. Rather he placed his trust in himself.
God comes to him after he has finished storing all his crops and says, “Fool! This very night your soul is required of you and the things you have prepared whose will they be?” To put your trust in your riches is foolish. They are temporary, finite things, that have no bearing on your life after you die. But what does have bearing on your life is your relationship with God.
Jesus comments in verse 21 saying that those who lay up treasures for themselves and are not rich toward God will end up in the same predicament as the man here in the parable. They will face eternal damnation, rather than eternal rest, relaxation, joy, and comfort for all of eternity with God. Oh, don’t get me wrong, things may satisfy us momentarily, but that satisfaction will wane quickly. Notice that the man in the parable was a rich man. He already lived a life of luxury, but the satisfaction, comfort, and relaxation his things once brought to his soul, did not last, and his soul was once again troubled until he was able to amass more riches. Surely, the cycle will continue to repeat in this man’s life because he has a giant hole in his heart that only God can fill. No earthly riches will do. That is why only those who are rich towards God will truly be satisfied.
So then, we must understand that it is God who provides for us, it is He who knows what we need. Once we understand that our possessions are not essential for our life, they are not necessary for us to live, but that our relationship with God is necessary, then we can be freed from the sin of covetousness – desiring what we do not have. We are freed from coveting others things: talents, abilities, jobs, homes, cars, clothes, families, etc because we understand that those things are not essential for our lives. They do not bring us everlasting rest, relaxation, comfort, and joy like our relationship with the Lord. Once we understand that, we are able to stop trusting in our possessions and start trusting in the Lord.