Dr Justine Toh, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity, shares with us a personal reflection on the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, provoking us toward self-reflection and humility.
Our desire for more things will never be satisfied by more things.
In today’s video teaching, Dave Hack reflects on the Parable of the Rich Fool. The man at the centre of this story was not foolish about how to make money, but he was foolish enough to allow money to dictate his actions.
The parable of the Rich Fool is a clear statement on greed. Greed is more than just hoarding possessions. Jesus makes comment about the misguided value which greed attaches to wealth. In pursuing wealth, we are left empty. It is a hunger which cannot be sated and which ultimately leads us away from what gives our lives true value: connection, love and relationship with God. When greed is in the driver’s seat, we lose sight of the values of kingdom living and the freedom these bring. We lose sight of the way that we are loved in all our imperfections; instead we focus on what we do not have. We lose sight of the need of our neighbour who suffers in poverty because we are driven by consuming. Ultimately, greed delivers us into the greatest state of poverty: the meaning of our lives becomes wealth and possessions, not the abundant life Jesus has invited us into.
Engaging with the story:
Create some space this week to re-read the parable and its surrounding context (Luke 12:13-34). When reading the parable imagine yourself in the story or teaching. Where would you stand? What do your surroundings look like? What can you smell or hear? What would you ask Jesus?
Reflect and Pray:
Foolishness is displayed in ignorance and a lack of wisdom. The rich fool did not see what was happening under the surface of his seemingly simple story: a person who saved riches for the future so that he could take it easy now. A person who took full advantage of the riches that came to him: he expanded his storehouses. What was once enough, was no longer sufficient. Under the surface of this story is the nature of greed: ignorance about the true values of life and ensuring that consumption and wealth don’t become the central focus and meaning of a person’s life.
What messages about wealth do you experience in your community? Is wealth linked with God’s favour? Is an understanding of the poverty that greed brings, reflected upon in your community? How might you cultivate a heart of gratitude and generosity?
Finally, consider the question from today’s video: How do my creative energies advance God’s world & kingdom?
Thank God for his provision for all our needs. Acknowledge the greed which may appear in your own experience. Remember that calling out greed is ultimately about experiencing a life of true abundance.
If you think this reflection would encourage someone else, please share:
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Today's Reading: Luke12:13-21
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 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. 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, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Dave Hack is the Young Adults Pastor at Riverview Church in Perth, and a member of the Common Grace Board.
This series has been produced by Common Grace and Bible Society Australia.