Daily Reading & Meditation
Monday (October 23): Storing up true riches
Scripture: Luke 12:13-21
13 One of the multitude said to him, "Teacher, bid my brother
divide the inheritance with me." 14 But he said to him, "Man, who
made me a judge or divider over you?" 15 And he said to them,
"Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man'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 brought forth
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 pull 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; take your ease,
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 he who lays up treasure for himself,
and is not rich toward God."
Meditation: Have you ever tried to settle a money
dispute or an inheritance issue? Inheritance disputes are rarely
ever easy to resolve, especially when the relatives or close
associates of the deceased benefactor cannot agree on who should
get what and who should get the most. Why did Jesus refuse to
settle an inheritance dispute between two brothers? He saw that
the heart of the issue was not justice or fairness but rather
greed and possessiveness.
Loving possessions rather than loving my neighbor
The ten commandments were summarized into two prohibitions - do
not worship false idols and do not covet what belongs to another.
It's the flip side of the two great commandments - love God and
love your neighbor. Jesus warned the man who wanted half of his
brother's inheritance to "beware of all covetousness." To covet is
to wish to get wrongfully what another possesses or to begrudge
what God has given to another. Jesus restates the commandment "do
not covet", but he also states that a person's life does not
consist in the abundance of his or her possessions.
August of Hippo (354-430 AD) comments on Jesus' words to the
brother who wanted more:
Greed wants to divide, just as love desires to
gather. What is the significance of 'guard against all greed,'
unless it is 'fill yourselves with love?' We, possessing love
for our portion, inconvenience the Lord because of our brother
just as that man did against his brother, but we do not use the
same plea. He said, 'Master, tell my brother to divide the
inheritance with me.' We say, 'Master, tell my brother that he
may have my inheritance.' (Sermon 265.9)
The fool who was possessed by his riches
Jesus reinforces his point with a parable about a foolish rich man
(Luke 12:16-21). Why does Jesus call this wealthy landowner a
fool? Jesus does not fault the rich man for his industriousness
and skill in acquiring wealth, but rather for his egoism and
selfishness - it's mine, all
mine, and no one else's. This parable is similar to the
parable of the rich man who refused to give any help to the beggar
16:19-31). The rich fool had lost the capacity to be
concerned for others. His life was consumed with his possessions
and his only interests were in himself. His death was the final
loss of his soul! What is Jesus' lesson on using material
possessions? It is in giving that we receive. Those who are rich
towards God receive ample reward - not only in this life - but in
eternity as well.
Where is your treasure?
In this little parable Jesus probes our heart - where is your
treasure? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place
of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we
most set our heart on is our highest treasure. What do you treasure
above all else?
"Lord Jesus, free my heart from all possessiveness and from
coveting what belongs to another. May I desire you alone as the
one true treasure worth possessing above all else. Help me to make
good use of the material blessings you give me that I may use them
generously for your glory and for the good of others."
2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into
his presence with singing!
3 Know that the LORD is God! It is he that
made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love
endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Surrounded
by wealth, blind to charity, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"'What does the rich man do, surrounded by a great supply of many
blessings beyond all numbering? In distress and anxiety, he speaks
the words of poverty. He says, 'What should I do?' ... He does not
look to the future. He does not raise his eyes to God. He does not
count it worth his while to gain for the mind those treasures that
are above in heaven. He does not cherish love for the poor or desire
the esteem it gains. He does not sympathize with suffering. It gives
him no pain nor awakens his pity. Still more irrational, he settles
for himself the length of his life, as if he would also reap this
from the ground. He says, 'I will say to myself, "Self, you have
goods laid up for many years. Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself." 'O
rich man,' one may say, "You have storehouses for your fruits, but
where will you receive your many years? By the decree of God, your
life is shortened." 'God,' it tells us, 'said to him, "You fool,
this night they will require of you your soul. Whose will these
things be that you have prepared?" (excerpt from COMMENTARY
ON LUKE, HOMILY 89)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be