Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying…
Jesus is in the middle of encouraging His disciples to confess and be bold in their faith even when facing distress and persecution when someone in the crowd interrupts Jesus to ask Him to help with a family disagreement about money. This is fascinating because this man was obviously not listening to Jesus but was very much focused on his own problem. Jesus, with wisdom, doesn’t enter into the details of the dispute with his brother but rather helps the man—and all of us—by dealing with the issue behind the issue. Jesus tells the man to be on the look out in his own life for covetousness—or being greedy, acquisitive, grasping, avaricious, mean, or showing a strong desire for especially material possessions. It implies inordinate desire for another's possessions—and not just material since we can covet another person’s wife or husband or other such relationships. We can covet almost anything. Coveting can be the root of many different sins, but here Jesus strongly highlights that coveting is the root of greed and therefore the root of lacking generosity towards Him and towards others.
Jesus reveals why many humans are not fully alive. It’s because people are looking for life "in the abundance of his possessions.” This love of “stuff” imprisons many areas of our lives and ultimately imprisons the church, for the church is made of individual members who make up one unified body. But if the individual members of that body are more passionate about their possessions than they are about God’s purpose, the vision of the church is crippled. Jesus dealt with this over 2,000 years ago, and today is no different. We must not, as believers, be afraid to deal with the root cause of much of our stress and lack of peace. We must pray and seek God and ask for His presence, but when He shows up in prayer, we must not be surprised when His Holy Spirit asks us to give and let go of things that once consumed our mind and focus. This parable helps to free us by challenging the way we approach finance, money and possessions in our lives. The outcome is freedom in our souls. We will constantly be interrupted by our own greed and never become fully alive if we don’t deal with the covetousness of our own hearts.
Over the next few devotionals let’s tackle this area in our lives, and break any chains of greed or withholding from God. Let’s pray and believe that God will help us together.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey