Jesus is talking to the crowd and someone yells out, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me!” What appears to be a cry for justice is turned into a teaching on greed. Let’s learn from the Master.
The man in the crowd appears to be crying out for fairness and justice, but in fact it is just his greed disguised. His father’s inheritance has rightly gone to this man’s brother per the father’s will or per Jewish custom, and he wants that money. He thus pretends to be the one who was wronged and calls on Jesus to be his advocate to get the money. All this is motivated by evil greed, the love of money.
(12:14). “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbiter over you?” Jesus stops the man in his tracks and He exposes the man’s greedy heart, but He does much more than that. Knowing that all people are naturally greedy, Jesus tells a parable about a man whose greed cost him his eternal soul, because he focused on the earthly and temporal, rather than the heavenly.
“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.”
This is the HEART OF THE PASSAGE and the disciple must pay careful attention to what Jesus is saying here.
“Beware” This is a word that implies that DANGER is near. Pay attention, disciple of Jesus, because we are talking about a spiritual danger. Be alert! Get you radar on!
“and be on your guard against . . .” Get your shield up and put your helmet on and take a defensive stance now, because you are in enemy territory and the attack can come at any time.
“(against) all kinds of greed/every form of greed.” Greed lurks in your heart, taking many forms and wearing many disguises and hiding in the shadows of respectability. The disciple must uncover and expose all greed, no matter how cleverly disguised.
Greed is manifested in his life by his coveting of the the inheritance. His brother has gotten something that he wants for himself. I want, I want, I want. This is the chant of the greedy. He wants something and he is not happy until he gets it.
Jesus is warning His disciples of this threat. The disciple must examine his heart and find out how greed and covetousness are manifested in his own heart and life. The disciple must become a greed detective, seeking and finding clues about his own greed and then cutting it out of his life.
Greed is a danger for the disciple of Jesus because:
First, Satan seeks areas of greed in our life to use those as entry points into your life. If he can gain access through greed, he can cause other sin and damage. Beware and be on your guard against greed!
Second, greed can destroy your testimony for the Lord Jesus. When the world sees greed in the one who claims to follow Jesus, it gives them an opportunity to blaspheme (Romans 2:24; 2 Samuel 12:14). Beware against greed!
Third, greed will corrupt and undermine the other graces of the life of faith, unless it is aggressively rooted out. All sin feeds the flesh and leads to other sins. Greed, which is idolatry (Col. 3:5), will pollute and corrupt the walk of the disciple. Seek out greed and when you find it, then confess it to the Lord and repent of it. Beware!
Here is the lie: “Money and power and possessions makes you important. Without those, you are nothing.” The flesh delights in this lie and uses these falsehoods to create discontent, which leads to greed. But consider that Jesus had almost nothing and yet He was the most significant person who ever lived on earth. Jesus had virtually no possessions and yet He was the most content man of all time. Jesus trusted His Father to ordain all things for His good.
Our significance is in the Lord, our trust is in the Lord, our hope is in the Lord, and He will supply all our needs according to His riches and glory. The disciple accepts what His Lord supplies and the disciple accepts what the Lord allows.
SDG rmb 9/24/2015