Luke 12:13-21 (NRSV)
Verse 13Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." Verse 14But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" Verse 15And 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." Verse 16Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. Verse 17And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Verse 18Then 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. Verse 19And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' Verse 20But 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?' Verse 21So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."
Once we have made up our minds about an issue, we may want someone else to help us justify our actions. We may ask for help without considering the possibility that things are not the way we see them. People want Jesus to tell them they are in the right—that they have the law on their side. And he consistently replies that they are paying attention to the wrong things.
Not only does Jesus tell the man in the crowd that he has no interest in settling a property dispute, he says there are more important issues at stake in life than acquiring property or wealth. Instead of trying to get more stuff than your brother, he is asking what you are doing in this world to bring God’s kingdom to earth here and now. Instead of getting as much as you can for ourselves, Christ wants us to use what we have for the good of the world.
Gracious God in heaven, open our vision beyond our own concerns, and to trust that you will care for us as we care for our neighbors and the world around us. Amen.