A recent trip to a huge warehouse store netted me large quantities of toilet paper, loads of cheese, and many other things I needed to help my family of five keep running. But I had to laugh at myself as I tried to find spots to store these treasures in my house, and I said we needed a bigger house, so I can buy more toilet paper! Oh, the struggle of being content with enough when everything around us screams, “More, more, more!”
- What items or material things do you feel are necessary for life? Would you depend on God if they were taken away?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 12:13-34 (ESV)
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 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.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Describe the rich man’s worry and focus in the first parable. How would you compare and contrast this parable of the barns with our desire to hit the lottery, hurry to retire, or other financial “securities”?
- The first parable talked of a great abundance. What are the temptations associated with having wealth? How can this distract us from pursuing his kingdom?
- Later, Jesus explained further that we shouldn’t worry over even the basics of life. What examples did he give to assure us of his care and provision?
- Jesus chided anxiety over daily necessities with, “O, you of little faith” (vs. 28). How is worry associated with a lack of faith?
- What is your greatest treasure? Do you spend more of your time laying up treasure for yourself or for God? If you focus on the latter, do you believe God will take care of you?
RESPOND TO GOD
This is a hard passage! Jesus calls us to be very different than the typical American dream. So often we hang on to materialism for a false sense of security; we use our clothes and wealth as measuring tools against other people. The difference isn’t what we have, it’s what we pursue and upon whom we depend. We don’t have to be consumed with chasing our own needs, but instead, we seek first his kingdom, trusting that God will give us what we need. As we treasure Christ above all else, we will be truly rich toward God.
- Pray for forgiveness if you are seeking your desires over God’s kingdom.
- Pray that you would increase in faith and not worry.
- Thank God for his provision and love.