What is one of the biggest obstacles to our spiritual growth?
The answer is found in Luke 12. This whole chapter is on Jesus teaching about the right focusand priorities for followers of Christ. I just LOVE this chapter. If you go through each division within the chapter with this theme in mind, it will really quite amaze you at the brilliancy of Scripture.
Read The Parable of the Rich Fool and identify what the spiritual growth obstacle is that Jesus is warning the disciples (and hence, us). Notice how it starts by a brother telling Jesus to resolve a conflict about stuff. I’ve bolded some words to pay close attention to. Jesus gives warning concerning the focus (and priority) of the heart.
The Parable of the Rich Fool
Luke 12:13-21 (ESV) – Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them,“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will storeall my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
An Obstacle to our Spiritual Growth is Greed.
Woah. The warning is the focus of collecting for self – laying up treasures for SELF, not putting God as priority.
- Covetousness, greed, hoarding, storing and not using nor sharing
- Saving for a life of ease, focus on the future
- Self-focus, the aim of attaining and acquiring
- “Mine, mine, mine” and “me, me, me,” is evident in the way he talks, “my crops, my barns, my grain, my goods, my soul.”
- His decision making is without seeking God or considering others. “I will do, I will tear, I will build, I will store, I will say.”
We do the same thing! We have our aim on things not people, on possessions for self not aware of the needs right around us.
This passage starts with someone asking Jesus himself to solve a dispute about possessions. Jesus doesn’t address the specific inheritance, but instead uses this as an opportunity to teach the crowd about attitude of the heart.
My immediate thought was an analogy of that example with parenthood.
- “Mom, tell her to share…”
- (Rather than me solving that particular situation, plug in how Jesus handled addressing the heart)
- “Child, be on guard about the danger of covetousness…”
Warning: Greed Never Rests
- It always requires more.
- It’s focus is on acquiring.
- It causes anxiety (trusting in self vs relaxing in trust and dependency on God)
- It causes fear (thinking you are the solution vs trusting God for His provision)
- It causes confidence in self vs experiencing the joy of confidence in Him.
- It causes love of self.
- It loses sight of proper stewardship.
- It is self-consuming with all decisions centering around self-interest.
- It focuses on gaining rather than giving.
- It aims for the future of own well-being and satisfaction.
- It depends on self rather than relying on God
- It’s pursuit is vain, empty. Joy is in giving, serving, doing for others.
What does Jesus call the person whose focus is on laying up his own treasures?
“Fool!” (Luke 12: 20)
Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
How do we begin to address the greed in our hearts?
In a nutshell, change our focus.
- Ask the Lord to search our hearts and reveal areas of greed, pursuit of acquiring wealth or treasures, wrong motives, blindspots in our parenting in regard to what we are teaching our kids about money and possessions.
- Change your heart to have a focus on the kingdom of God, blessing and giving to others.
- Align your thoughts, words, conversations with your family, actions for individual purchases, family spending (and saving) with a proper priority regarding possessions.
Practical ideas for reshaping the direction of your home from greed to giving.
- Have a family pow wow telling them what you’re learning. Be real. Share errors of your heart. In a matter of minutes, you can begin to reshape the direction of your home with their attitudes and goals in life with money and possessions.
- Dream-cast with your family. Ask and hear their input, “What needs do you see?”
- Look around. We all have too much. (v 33) Consider scaling back. What can you sell. What can you give to the needy?
- Look around again…this time for signs of hoarding. This identifies your treasure. Are they serving a purpose or collecting dust? For self-interest or used to share with others? (You will experience freedom by letting go!)
- Pray together as a family, asking the Holy Spirit for specific ways to give and specific people and opportunities just for you and your family to immediately give to.
- To make sure motive is right, give anonymously. Just ask the Lord each time and he’ll guide you.
- The next time (which will probably be today) you have a thought on a purchase or a dream in mind, STOP. Put that decision to the heart-test, revealing where your treasure really is.
You’ll see a difference as you focus on handling stuff God’s way. Experiencing the joy of giving alongside your family is so much fun. And, the value of your children participating in hearing from the Lord, immediately obeying, serving, giving, relinquishing possessions, and using money and things for others is KEY to them experiencing a life lived for God in serving others.
Luke 12:34 (ESV) “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Friends, there is FREEDOM in letting go of the pursuit of accumulating. There is PEACE in depending on the Lord’s provision. There is JOY in using all that He has entrusted to us for His kingdom.
You can read yesterday’s post about our Desire to Impress (ouch) HERE.
Rhonda restandfreedomfromanxietyisfoundintrustingGod,notself ellis