Living for Who or What

June 1, 2014   Luke 12:13 – 21   Living for What or Who


     The bible is timeless and one reason it is timeless and applies to all ages and all societies is because it speaks to human nature.   In the passage we read this morning a man wanted Jesus to make his brother share the inheritance.   Certainly greed was involved and Jesus warns against greed.       

    Greed was a key player in the whole housing market fiasco.  In fact, our current financial crisis is a direct result of this "entitlement," or "free lunch" kind of thinking.   According to Terry Jones of the Investor's Business Daily (posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008), a former president signed the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, which pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to aggressively lend money to low-income communities.    It was the president’s contention that every American should own their own home, whether or not they could afford it.   Later another president got into office; he "supercharged the process." He put in place new rules and regulations, which gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extraordinary leverage, allowing them to hold just 2.5% of capital to back their investments, vs. the 10% required for banks.   Some believe that it was the Democrats fault and others think it was the Republicans.  That is not important for us today.  Certainly no one owned up to it.  Blame was passed around. 

      With government guarantees and government incentives in place, banks made loans to people that required no money down and no verification of income. People who couldn't afford it, were given extraordinary loans, and by 2007, Fannie and Freddie owned or guaranteed nearly half of the $12 trillion U.S. mortgage market.    Congress later was informed of an impending crisis; most Congressmen ignored it, because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were financing 384 of their campaigns to the tune of $200 million over the last 20 years according to Terry Jones.       

    "Free money" was available for the taking. All went well as long as housing prices kept going up. If a person couldn't pay their mortgage, which many couldn't, no problem!   Just foreclose on the property and sell it for more than what was owed.   Banks were making money hand over fist with these subprime loans, and it worked as long as the housing prices kept going up.   But when the housing market began to drop, the whole system came crashing down like a house of cards. Banks couldn't sell foreclosed properties at a high enough price to cover their losses, and now everybody is hurting.   It's all because of an "entitlement" philosophy and greed.    It's all because people wanted a "free lunch" without the work.   It's all because people wanted to take, instead of working to give. They were ignoring the 8th commandment: "You shall not steal."   There are a lot of people who are doing things that they do not want the truth revealed about it. 

     Has the media clearly told the American public the truth about the whole housing mess?   I think that most people just realize that loans were made that should not have been made.   It certainly was a worthy goal to allow folks to own their own home but not if they can’t pay for it.  It was a house of cards that had to fall.     Did anyone own up to their part in the failures?   Where or who got the blame for the collapse?    Think about those involved and how they must feel today because they knew the truth and people were really hurt by the collapse.   Greed, power and government can entice people to make some really bad decisions.  J.P. Morgan was in the news this week about lending to those who could not repay.   The couple that lived in the house across from my garden borrowed against their house when housing was high and then recently the husband passed away.   The lady walked away from the house and she told me that the bank said she could live there by paying 180K and then she would owe 240K.   The house is on posts and does not have a solid foundation around it.  You can crawl under the house and it is probably not worth 100K.  The house sits empty and the bank is in the process of repossessing it.   The housing market is more stable today we are told but not all of the issues are resolved.  The bank is going to eat I suspect over 300K dollars on that house. 

    Jesus is teaching and he is interrupted by a man in the crowd who wants Jesus to make his brother share the inheritance with him.   Jesus chose not to be a judge in that situation.    In this story Jesus is asked to straighten out an inheritance.   Exactly how did this man expect Jesus to make his brother share the inheritance with him?  Probably a few words will not solve the issue.  It would seem at least on the surface that he felt that he was being cheated and no one likes to be cheated.    I was told years ago never expect justice but always give it.  As Christians we must be always be fair because God is just and God is fair.  Jesus does not jump on the band wagon for this man at least in a legal way or judicial way.   If Jesus helped him then everyone would ask Jesus to help them.  All of us have been on the short end of something.   We paid someone to do something and it was not right at least in our eyes.  Or someone has taken advantage of us in some way.   People have lent out something that never gets returned.   Siblings can take advantage of one another.   The list goes on and on.

      Does this request from this man seem like a valid request?    Is God interested in justice?   Should Jesus take up his case?   Would you take up his case?   Jesus came to minister and to preach the gospel.   Jesus did not get side tracked with his request.  But let’s not forget that Jesus at one point spoke about a woman who was not given justice and she pestered the judge until he heard her case and Jesus said if the unjust judge will listen to her how much more will your heavenly father listen to those who pray and cry out to him.   Scripture also tells us that God has his eye on the widow and the orphan. 

     Jesus ministers to his heart and to our hearts today.  Jesus tells us to be on guard when it comes to greed.  People have been so hurt by inheritances and it has ruined lives, relationships and families.   Why because of greed and the love of money.  I was with a person once and they told me that man cheated me out of $20 many years ago.    I do not know how many times he thought about it or the number of times it brought pain to him.  Jesus warns against greed.  It is not worth it to live your life in anger and frustration.    Guard your heart and watch out for it.  Many would say I want a new home or a new car or this or that nice thing.   Be on guard Jesus tells us.   What would you be willing to do for $10,000,000.00?   In their book, The Day America Told the Truth, James Patterson and Peter Kim reveal some shocking statistics about how far people in this country are willing to go for ten million.   Would abandon their entire family (25%)   Would abandon their church (25%)   Would become prostitutes for a week or more (23%)    Would give up their American citizenship (16%)   Would leave their spouses (16%)    Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free (10%)   Would kill a stranger (7%)  Would put their children up for adoption (3%)   It would be a tough thing to sell your integrity but the devil and the world would like to buy it.    What would you do for 10 million?    What would you do for God? 

    Jesus tells them a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of things that he owns.   A person can be rich and be miserable.   A person can be poor and be very content and happy.  After Jesus warns them of being greedy and that abundance does not fill a person’s life.   He then tells them a parable about a rich man.  There is nothing wrong about being rich.  Being rich is Okay.   But this rich man is thinking about himself and that is the only thing he is thinking of.  He is all wrapped up in himself.  He is going to tear down his barns and build bigger barns.  He is going to take life easy and eat drink and be merry.  In this man’s mind he has tomorrow all figured out.  James tells us to not boast about tomorrow.  Tomorrow is not promised.   We do not know what tomorrow may bring.  We can’t boast in tomorrow.   Today is important and we need to make today good.   We need to make today count.   We need to do the right thing today.  This man was not thinking that God owned everything and that in reality none of it was his.   He could have used that wealth for good but all he could see was himself.  All that he was thinking about was himself. 

     What does God say to him inverse 20?   You fool this very night your life will de demanded from you.  He was not a foolish man in the world’s eyes but he was spiritually discerned.   He could not see God and eternity and for that reason he was foolish.   In the world he was successful and prudent.    The man was living for himself and God says you fool.  Your whole life is in you.  The man looked at his fields and barns and said this is what I have done.   God did not have any part in it.  He was not rich toward God.    You see in this parable Jesus teaching points to us today.   If you are only storing up; for yourself and not rich toward God then you are a fool in God’s eyes.  That is pretty strong words I think. 

     God blesses us so we can be a blessing.   God blesses us so we can give but many folks take all of that and spend it on themselves and God says you are not smart doing that.  God is a very loving gracious Father who blesses us.   But he blesses us so we can bless others.  If we really understand God and the bible we know that we own nothing.   We are stewards of what God gives to us including our breath.  Life is a gift.    He blesses us with spiritual gifts and abilities and God blesses us with money so we can be a blessing to others.  We are blessed so we can be a blessing.  We are not to hoard everything for ourselves.    That is not how God wants folks to live.  God does not want me to be a hoarder and only be focused on what I have. 

        He wants a flow through my life according to His leading.  He wants my life to be invested in others and in eternity.   He wants my life invested in the kingdom of heaven.   Some feel that they have so many needs that they can’t give.   Everybody can give.   If you are in a hole and want to get out start giving.  You give as God leads you and start the adventure. Giving to God is an adventure.   If you do not step out in faith you do not have to trust God for much.  For many Christians the prayer is Lord if you do not help me out today I am sunk.   I totally trust you.  Then you can see God work in your behalf and rescue you.   You can see how faithful God is. 

     The man in the parable wanted a comfortable life and God said he was foolish.  Many Christians do not want to get closer to God because they want a comfortable life.  God do not talk to me about that area of my life.    Sometimes it is not comfortable to minister to people.   If you share the gospel there can be rejection and some do not want the discomfort.   We like creature comforts.   I would also say it is exhilarating to lead someone to Jesus.   It is a great joy to know because of your prayer that a life has been changed.   It is a blessing to share the word of God and see the Lord use it in someone’s life.   It is a blessing to meet someone’s financial need as your led by the Holy Spirit.  Some will not preach because it is not easy not that any career in this society is easy but some are easier than others.  The man in the parable did not experience God’s blessing on him.   He did not experience the joy and blessing of “God day by day.    The man in the parable said I will take life easy eat and drink and be merry.   He said I will take care of me.   He said I will tear down what I have and build bigger buildings so I can store up more for me.   He thinks he knows what tomorrow is going to bring.   I know how things are going to flow he says to himself but nothing could be further from the truth.       God said you are foolish.  He is wrong in a bad way.      The bible says there is no other foundation that can be laid except Jesus.   Jesus said if you are wise you build your life on the solid rock and when the winds and storms of life come your foundation is secure.   The song writer said on Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand all other ground is sinking sand.  Make sure you are on the rock today.   Make sure you are on the solid ground.  Life is more than possessions and things.