“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’” (Luke 12:20)
I would hate to think that God would look at how I spend my days and sum me up as “Fool!” What a horrible designation! Imagine getting and spending, accumulating and splurging, and God declaring all of it foolishness.
“Be on your guard against all covetousness,” Christ told his listeners and speaks to us today as well. “For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The Lord is not impressed with our stuff, with where we’ve been or who we know or the quantity of what we have gathered in as our own. None of that matters to him in the least; He does not want it to matter to us either. Christ warns us that our identity should not be classified according to “the abundance of our possessions.”
He notices what we are storing up, what we consider our treasures, and whether or not we are being “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21). From his perspective, we become easily ensnared by our eager or excessive desires, especially when it comes to wealth and possessions.
Stop that foolishness, God tells us in hundreds of ways all through Scripture. Don’t build your house on that flimsy foundation. Don’t strive for that false sense of security. Don’t drop a pittance in my direction as if I am an Uber driver that got you safely across town and is now deserving a tip.
Recognize that everything you have is mine. All of it is sourced in me. “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).
The very opposite of foolish choices is laid out for us by the apostle Paul. After admonishing his readers to run as far away as possible from being consumed by riches and greed, he lays out for us the better choices available. “Pursue righteousness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).
Like a town crier alerting us to impending danger and the clear path to attaining rescue and freedom, Paul instead commands us to, “Do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure…” (1 Timothy 6:18-19).
God does not need our money. God does not need anything we have. Throughout Scripture his call to us to live generously and unselfishly is for our benefit, not his. He longs for us to imitate his generous heart because he knows that ultimate joy and peace and hope occur when we freely give much away and choose to distance ourselves from anything foolish.
May his Spirit living in us help us to do that, and much more.
Elizabeth A Mitchell
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