Sometimes at night I just kinda’ flip through my Bible and see where I land. Last night I was doing this and I saw something underlined in Luke 12 and stopped to check it out. “Take heed”….”beware.” Jesus was telling folks not to be covetous…well, here’s the whole thing: “Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’ ”
So, why wouldn’t Jesus get involved in this dispute? He was a peacemaker, after all. And there seemed to be a problem between two brothers. I figured John Calvin might have said something about this in his commentary so I took a look. Turns out Jesus was being true to His calling. We should also be true to our calling. That would be the thing that is in your heart to do, whether it is ‘ministry’ or ‘secular’. He was not here to set up an earthy kingdom. He knew the Jews expected Messiah to do just that so he was not going to give any wrong impressions by acting as a judge. He also didn’t want anyone saying He was out to overthrow the Roman Empire. His Kingdom is not of this world, which really leads right on to what he said about possessions.
When Jesus said to beware of covetousness, he was warning us about a disease that flows out of the life in us…..John Calvin said, “….”‘our life consists not in abundance’.” These words point out the inward fountain and source, from which flows the mad eagerness for gain. It is because the general belief is, that a man is happy in proportion as he possesses much, and that the happiness of life is produced by riches.” (Had to quote him. I couldn’t have said it better.)
So, people have always thought more stuff would make them happier. Do we ever learn?
From Luke I went to Matthew chapter 6 and read all those neat things Jesus said about not worrying about our basic daily needs being met. Not only does He tell us that we don’t need stuff to be happy, He also says He will take care of our basic daily needs. He tells us that our heart will be with our treasure and says to seek His Kingdom and righteousness, and we will have all we need.
For a long time I was fuzzy on what that meant exactly…seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. I got a pretty good summation in a sermon a while back. Commitment to God’s Kingdom is submission to God’s will. It’s not my will but Yours…His Kingdom and His Righteousness means to want His will – not my wants, comforts, etc., – it’s God’s interests first.
God’s interests and ours are not always exactly the same. We want the comfort and security of a nice bank account, for example, and He wants to mold us into the image of His Son. He wants to see the fruit of the Spirit like in Galatians 5…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. So, sometimes the very thing that comforts us, whatever it is for you and me, is the very area where He puts the squeeze on us. And for one who is seeking His Kingdom first, that has to be OK.