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When Alexander The Great, after conquering kingdoms and returning to his country, fell ill which led him to his deathbed.
He gathered his generals and told them, “I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail.”
The king asked his general to abide by these last wishes:
1) The Macedonian King said, “My physicians alone must only carry my coffin.”
2) “I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be filled with the wealth that I collected,” the king said.
3) “My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept hanging out of my coffin,” Alexander said.
The generals agreed to abide by their king’s last wishes and asked him the reason for doing so.
Alexander said, “I want the world to know the three lessons I have just learnt.”
The king interpreted his wishes and continued,
a) “I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor on this earth can really cure anybody.
They are helpless in front of death.”
b) “I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me.
Let people know that wealth is nothing but dust.”
c) “I wish people to know that I came empty-handed into this world, and I will go empty-handed.”
What wonderful words of wisdom coming out of the mouth of the dying hopeless king.
To a dying man that has no hope means that once he reaches the end, life is like an on/off switch, the lights go off and that’s it – health is meaningless.
Wealth is meaningless.
The presence of the physical body is meaningless.
Just like when King Solomon writes in the book of Ecclesiastes 1:2
Alexander The Great wanted the world to see that out of the womb of his mother, he had nothing in his hands so likewise, he will leave this world with nothing in his hands.
Yet again, to a hopeless person, death is just the last chapter of life.
But not so for a true Christian who believes that each human being is a masterpiece of God because.
It is God who knit you together in your mother’s womb and each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Marvellous are His works!
Who also believes in hope everlasting.
The Bible gives all Christians a true definition of our belonging and what we must do, by faith, to achieve a life of sanctification.
Then comes the very important question which is the choice of how you utilize this marvellous creation is entirely up to you.
Do you choose to live and be filled materialistically, and at the last breath, all that you have done and gained is meaningless?
You see, the materialistic world that we live in today screams louder than the conviction from the Holy Spirit.
Why do I say that?
Because conviction forces us to change on a dime, but materialism causes us to crave without delay.
So, if you choose a life of conviction, you are constantly changing and transforming (metamorphoō) by the power of the scripture.
That is true Christianity.
Unfortunately, Jesus tells of a young rich guy who rather cared more for earthly wealth than his heavenly treasures.
Let’s find out.
The Context
The context of Luke 12:13-21 is important for us to understand before we dive into the parable.
On the surface, the parable may seem like it is talking about the greediness of the rich especially when you read when Jesus warns the rich man to “Watch out.
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
But in fact, it goes much deeper than that.
If we need to understand this parable, we must begin all the way back to Luke 12:1.
Look at what’s going on,
Let’s stop there for a second.
Do you see what’s happening?
Thousands and thousands and thousands of people were coming to listen to Jesus speak, but are they really here to listen?
The “many thousands” comes from the Greek word “myrias” which gives us the word “myriad” which means “by the thousands” in English.
So, myriads of people are rushing in, why do we know that they are rushing?
because the Bible tells us that “they were trampling on one another.”
If you remember and have seen the news about Travis Scott’s concert, you’ll know what I mean.
His fans broke through the gates and the security while stepping over and onto people who got pushed to the ground.
They were like wild bulls being let loose.
It was a horrific scene!
And that’s exactly what is happening in Luke 12.
The myriads of people that are rushing in were rushing in not for the sake of the gospel (I am sure of this and will tell you why in a second) but was there to find out who Jesus is and see what kinds of magic he’ll perform!
Now, why do I know that? because the Bible tells us that Jesus began to speak first to his disciples[2] Jesus was having a fellowship time (small group) time with His disciples.
And further down in verse 41, Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”
So, what we have here are a bunch of people riding on the Jesus “bandwagon” hoping to see something out of this world.
Then Jesus begins teaching to those who chose to listen, you get these golden verses such as 12:5, 6-7
And now, here’s the rich guy probably twirling his thumb thinking, “when is this guy going to stop speaking and start doing something!
Arrrgh….I’m so bored!”
So out of his impatience, stood up and started to scream.
Remember, it’s not just him that’s standing there.
The Story
So he says,
Now, it is very common for someone to find a rabbi and have them be the arbitrator over family inheritances.
But it looks like the rich man found the wrong arbitrator.
Listen to Jesus’ response,
“Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”[5]
The usage of the word “Man” gives us the frustration of Jesus.
Man, the species, the Homosapien, is an “unsympathetic response” by Jesus to this Rich man.
Does Jesus not care about this man, of course not but what is Jesus so unsympathetic about then?
Jesus does not give sympathy for this rich man’s wealth.
At this very moment, Jesus was sympathetic to those that are listening to his words.
Jesus was teaching them what to expect when He sends them out to preach the gospel, that they will face hypocrites, dark times, and death.
Jesus wasn’t there to arbitrate and talk about the law of primogeniture.
But this rich man chose not to listen, so he chose to worry about his fortune more than the word of God.
This rich man chose to worry about himself more than others.
A complete contradiction to what Jesus was teaching!
So now, comes the parable in verses 16-20
In this parable, Jesus cleverly and brilliantly unearths the character of this rich man.
He is ungodly.
He is selfish.
He is a party animal.
The Rich Man’s Character
He is ungodly.
He is selfish.
He is self-centered.
Nowhere in Jesus' parable, which was spoken directly to this rich man, mentions the interaction with God.
The rich man in the parable takes everything for granted even the land that had yielded an abundant harvest (v.16).
He doesn’t thank Yahweh for His providence and gives all the credit to himself.
The land is what God provides for humans which is also a curse,
The point is simple, what we have today is a direct supply from God who knows your needs.
All the materialistic things aside, your wealth, your health, and your salvation are gifts that are from God to you.
We owe Him and He owes us nothing.
This rich man in the parable is ungodly and selfish.
Let’s look at verses 17 to 19.
17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall Ido?
I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then hesaid, ‘This is what I’ll do.
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