Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bible Fools#2. Rich, Self-centred and Senseless

The musical group ‘Abba’ sang it. Untold millions want it. ‘Money, Money, Money.’ That song could well be the anthem of the soul. It certainly must be for Prosperity teachers, Mafia cartels and other unscrupulous people. The Head of the Christian Church, Jesus, had a lot to say about money. He didn’t dispute the need for it but He certainly showed the human heart’s fascination addiction and corruption to it

In the Parable of the rich farmer (Luke 12:16-21) Jesus put things about riches in perspective. The unnamed farmer (therefore it could apply to any of us.) had just reaped an abundant crop. His elation and bank account seemed to take over his senses. His eyes saw ‘gold’ and more of it so he planned to build bigger storage sheds and to enjoy the party life.

One major crisis would ruin all his selfish plans. In the parable God called him a fool, the word means senseless one. Why? Because that very night the farmer became a death statistic! There are however, other reasons I believe behind why Jesus portrayed the farmer as senseless. I would simply like to list them.

1. In Israel under the covenant arrangements the nation, therefore the individual, occupied the land as tenants. No other piece of ground and nation has been earmarked by the Lord God. In Joel 2:18 (and elsewhere) the Land is called ‘His (God’s) land’. Therefore the farmer was a tenant and therefore should have considered his obligation to the owner. He had a duty to offer ten percent (the agreed sum) back to God. It never seemed to enter the farmer’s mind. There’s a lesson in there surely for us to heed.

2. This newly rich man could only think about more storage for more produce. Then he could party more and be self indulgent. However one of the principles of God’s word was not to forget the poor and needy. From out of his abundance others’ needs could be satisfied. The Bible is saturated with such injunctions and commands. The farmer wasn’t interested. His navel’s passions occupied his mind. God was offended again. ‘Who cares’, may well have been the man’s attitude.

3. He must have had a sense of good health and young enough not to be concerned about death. Diagnostic services weren’t anywhere as good as ours in his day but even in our time death still can strike unawares. Rich he was but he wasn’t lord of his life. Senseless he was, although a good farmer and business man, for he had no time or place for God and God’s commands. Now this unnamed ‘tycoon’ of Israel would stand accountable before the Lord God Almighty.

Money is an honourable servant. It is however, a heartless and voracious tyrant when it rules the heart and drives the will. It makes people senseless to goodness, integrity the needs of others. It also kills the sense of accountability to God. We all need to remember those things. It is also worthwhile to understand there isn’t any prize at the end of time for being the richest person in the graveyard.

Jesus urged His hearers to seek first the Kingdom of God. Only then will Money or ‘Mammon’ be tamed. The Bible uses the term ‘filthy Lucre in reference to money. Why? Not because of the material from which it is made but by what it breeds in the soul. Only a heart and mind with higher motives, a sense of discipline and integrity will prevent money and its offspring from polluting one’s life. The Lord also called people to build up treasure in heaven, not simply to focus on the earthly realm. Money has no hope of being transferred from one’s bank account into Heaven’s vault. It has to be transformed into Heaven’s currency by meeting the needs of others and honouring the Name of the Lord Jesus.

The Scriptures uphold the Lord Jesus’ teaching which will make you wise regarding life and Truth. He has no pleasure in seeing men and women wearing for all eternity the description ‘Senseless’.

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