Sermon Outline On Luke 12:13-21
Our passage starts out with a man coming to Jesus seeking His help because this man’s brother would not share his inheritance with him. It was common practice in those days when there was a dispute to go to a Rabbi and ask them to help solve the dispute. I would imagine this man thought there would be no one as fair as Jesus so go to Him for help. Jesus made it very clear that this was not his position. And, not only that, he had a more important lesson for them to learn.
Jesus warns us that we need to beware of any form of greed that may come to us and we must not get caught up in acquiring an abundance of possessions. It is amazing to me today to drive around these new neighborhoods and see the size of the homes that are being built. The sad part is that many of these people now have loans that extend them almost beyond their means. You will also find one of two things in many of these homes. Either a lack of furniture because they cannot afford to fill all of these new rooms in their home. Or, so much ‘stuff’ that no one enjoys using any of it.
One of John Wesley’s sayings was to: “Do all the good you can;
By all the means you can; In all the ways you can; In all the places you can;
At all the times you can; To all the people you can; As long as ever you can.”
When Wesley was at Oxford he made 30L a year. He lived on 28L and gave 2L away. When his income increased to 60L, 90L and 120L a year, he still lived on 28L and gave the balance away. John knew he could live on 28L a year so why worry about having and living on more? He was asked once about this and his response was, ‘I shall not buy any more while so many around me want bread.’ And, Wesley’s response is exactly what Jesus is looking for.
This passage, this lesson that Jesus gives us is filled with the “self.” In the five short versus of this parable this rich man uses the words I, me, and myself a dozen times! It is all about what is in it for him. Listen again.
The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
Nowhere does this man acknowledge the blessings of the good crops that God has blessed him with. Nowhere does this man ever think about his neighbor or others who may be in need and how he can help them with the abundance he has been blessed with. This man only thinks about hoarding what he has been blessed with for himself and then being a glutton and celebrating only himself and his good fortune.
I, I, I. One of the most dangerous words in our human language. Do you realize that I is the middle letter of sin. In other words when we sin I, or self, is the cause of that sin. Thinking only about ourselves and not others.
This man thought only of himself and not anyone else. What does that get him? Well, I guess wealth and treasures here on earth and not much else because when we die it doesn’t go with us.
If we have all the treasures in the world it does nothing for us in our relationship with God especially if we do not recognize and honor God for blessing us with those gifts. When we die all of those treasures simply stay behind and get distributed to others. Something that should have been done in life. We get into this mentality of thinking that the more we have the more we need. It usually doesn’t change for us until we are much older and we begin telling our families at birthdays and Christmas that we really don’t need anything else. We begin to realize that we may even have more then we really need or even want to mess with on a day-to-day basis.
The treasures that God wants us to seek are the treasures of heaven. God wants us to build up and share things in our lives like love, peace, graciousness, kindness, forgiveness, and helping others like Christ has always been here for us. Jesus tells us that He wants us to be rich towards God.
To be rich towards God means coming to know God and then striving to be more like Christ each day in our lives. If the farmers will pardon the expression for the moment. Jesus is calling upon us to live a life of meaning and not of building bigger barns. Meaning comes to us through our relationship with God, with our families and with each other. These are the things that we take with us not our possessions. The man in our parable today had a full barn but an empty heart.
Henry Ford once asked an associate about his life goals. The man replied that his goal was to make a million dollars. A few days later Ford gave the man a pair of glasses made out of two silver dollars. He told the man to put them on and asked what he could see. “Nothing,” the man said. “The dollars are in the way.”
Ford told him that he wanted to teach him a lesson: If his only goal were dollars, he would miss a host of greater opportunities. He should invest himself in serving others, not simply in making money. That’s a great secret of life that far too few people discover. Money is important. No question about that. But money is only a means by which we reach higher goals. Service to others and service to God. That is what it is all about.
May we go forth seeking ways in which we can serve God and having our riches in heaven. Thanks be to God. Amen.