Greed. It’s Not Good.

Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Luke‬ ‭12‬:‭13-21‬ NASB

We must beware of every form of greed. Life is not about the things we possess. No matter how much money we have or how many possessions we gather, one day we will die, and those things will have no meaning at all to us. We won’t own them any more. We may die before they even become of any use to us. Instead of storing up treasure for ourselves, let’s be rich, generous toward God.

He should be our focus, not money or things. He is worth more than any earthly treasure. He will take care of us.

We are often too wrapped up in stuff. Life is not about possessions, but about loving God. Storing up money and possessions, worrying about our material security, these things take our focus from Him. They become our treasures when He should be our treasure.

Don’t store up treasures for yourself, but be rich toward God. Give Him everything – your money, your time, your thoughts.

He provides for us. He is worthy of our generous worship. He is to be treasured.

We humans are greedy. We are materialistic. We are unwise in this regard. We just want stuff, and we look for ways to get it. We don’t want to give up the stuff we have for anything.

We need to treasure God.

Only the grace of Christ can change our hearts and minds to focus on things that have value beyond this life rather than things whose only value is material and temporary.

If we took this truth seriously, our homes would look different. Our children would be raised in a different environment. Our faith would be deep enough to trust God to provide for our needs. We would be more generous to those in need.

Live or Die?

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭21-24‬ NASB

As followers of Christ, either life or death is a benefit to us. If we live on, we will continue to work for the sake of the Kingdom. If we die, we will be with Christ our Lord, which is better by far.

To be with Him is better than life in this world. He has control over life and death. If He has plans for us here, we will remain alive in the flesh.

Would that, like Paul, we would be torn because we want to be with Christ, but we long to continue our labor for His Church here. This is Paul serving as an example of being a living sacrifice. He has given all of Himself to the Lord and is willing to take whatever comes.

Are you torn like this? Or do you want your life in the flesh more than you want to be with Christ? Do you know who you are? Or are you simply living as another self-centered citizen of this world, rather than a citizen of the Kingdom?

Our desires need to be changed. We need to become true worshipers, to give our bodies as living sacrifices.

We need His grace to change us.

Take Up Your Cross

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?
‭Luke‬ ‭9‬:‭23-25‬ NASB

He expects sacrifice. He expects us to follow in the footsteps of Christ. He expects everything of us. He is the only thing in our lives that is worth everything.

Nothing in this world gives life, and nothing in this world is worth losing ourselves, our souls. Only by giving all of ourselves to Him, walking to our deaths each day, can we truly live.

In order to live, we have to follow Christ to death.

He and only He gives life. He denied Himself to give me life.

Do you deny yourself and take up your cross daily? If not, the hard truth is you don’t follow Him. Not even close.

When we forget this truth, we look for fulfillment in the things of this world, like material things, entertainment, pleasure, money, power. We need to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily and follow Him because this is the only way we will have life.

Jesus made this journey first, and He calls us to follow. He gives us the power to follow.

God, please change our desires so that we want to give You everything.

Obedience Over Ritual

Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
“For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He has also rejected you from being king.”
‭1 Samuel‬ ‭15‬:‭22-23‬ NASB

Obedience is more important to the Lord than following ritual. Disobedience is the same as any other sin, even idolatry. Because Saul rejected God’s word, God rejected Him as king.

God takes obedience seriously. While religious practice may be important, even though directly prescribed by God, it is not as important as obeying His commands. Disobedience is sin.

Those in ministry should be doubly aware: disobedience makes us unfit to serve God’s people in leadership. 

When God tells you to do something, do it. Don’t blame others – especially those under your leadership – for your disobedience. Don’t allow others to influence you to disobey God.

He is Lord and commands obedience. He has ultimate authority. He showed Saul grace – this wasn’t the first time Saul was disobedient.

Like Saul, we often let fear and insecurity dictate our level of obedience.

We must not think that we’re secure in our positions of leadership despite our disobedience. We certainly must not think that our work for the church makes up for our disobedience.

Remember: it is His grace that empowers us to be obedient.