In today’s read, Jesus talks about a subject that I was taught it wasn’t polite to discuss in public: money. My mama impressed on me that you mind your own business; that you never ask someone how much money they have, or comment on it. And you certainly never publicly bemoan your own lack of it! Jesus didn’t broach this topic, but was asked to “make it His business.”
We find this wisdom in Luke 12:13-34. Someone in the crowd listening to Jesus asked Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” We don’t know if the brother was withholding what was rightfully his, or if perhaps the older brother had received the double portion, and the younger one thought it wasn’t fair. At any rate, he felt like he wasn’t getting what he deserved, and he wanted Jesus’ help to get it.
Jesus responds by teaching us two wrong attitudes about money. Likely all of us at one time or another will find ourselves on one side or the other of these attitudes.
The first attitude is to spend our lives accumulating more than we need.
The second attitude is to spend our time worrying that we have less than we need.
Jesus tells a parable about a man who was blessed with very productive land. When his land produced more than he could store in the barns he had, his answer was to build more barns, storing up provision for many years to come, so that he could take it easy in his latter years. Jesus says this is the wrong attitude, and he will die early, and never enjoy what he’s stored up. The “storing up” wasn’t the problem; it was his attitude that it was all for himself. Instead, he should have used the abundant productivity of his land to be “rich toward God.” His blessings were given so that he could bless others, not just himself.
Jesus also tells us that it is wrong to worry that we will never have enough food or clothing, but instead we are to trust God to provide exactly what we need. If God cares enough to feed the birds of the air or clothe the flowers of the field more beautifully than Solomon ever dressed, can He not provide what we need?
Two verses come to mind. In Matthew 6:11, Jesus teaches us to ask our Heavenly Father for our “daily bread,” just what we need for TODAY. Proverbs 30:8-9 echoes the attitude that Jesus is teaching:
“Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”
Jesus warns us that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. What is your attitude toward the things you need? Do you strive to accumulate more than you need? Do you worry that you will not have enough for your needs? Both attitudes are wrong. The right attitude is to surrender ALL our possessions and ALL our need to God, trusting Him to provide exactly what we need to accomplish the kingdom work He has called us to do. Just as He promised, when we seek His kingdom first, everything we need will be provided.