By Rev. Ron Purkey
Read: Luke 12:1-59
“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40)
The Lord encouraged his disciples to have the right priorities in their lives. This applies to us, too.
First, We Must Fear God (Luke 12:1-12). The religious leaders were trying to trap Jesus and the crowds were thronging Jesus, but he was neither afraid of the enemy nor impressed by the multitudes. He lived to please God alone. He saw that the Twelve were worried about the Pharisees, so he warned them to fear God alone and not fear men. If we fear God, we need not fear anyone or anything else (Psalm 112). When we start fearing people, then we are in danger of compromising in order to please them and protect ourselves, and this leads to hypocrisy (“playacting”).
Second, We Must Trust God (Luke 12:13-34). This rich man was more concerned about getting money than hearing the Word of God (Luke 8:14). He wanted Jesus to solve his problems but not save him from his covetousness!
Had Jesus made a just division of the property, this would not have solved the problem, for “the heart of every problem is the problem in the heart.” The statement in verse 15 contradicts the philosophy of the world and is illustrated in the parable (Luke 12:16-21).
Money does not necessarily solve problems; it created new problems for this farmer. It is not a sin to be wealthy, but it is a sin to make wealth your god (Colossians 3:5). Note the emphasis the farmer gave to himself (“I” and “my”). Wealth can be a window through which we see God (1 Timothy 6:17) or a mirror in which we see only ourselves. It can make us generous or selfish, depending on what is in our hearts.
The rich are prone to be covetous, and the poor are prone to worry. Both are sins. When we substitute things for life, we stop living by faith and trusting God.
Third, We Must Serve God (Luke 12:35-59). Living for material possessions can blind us to the future and make us unprepared for the Lord’s second coming. We can get so wrapped up in this world’s goods that we neglect eternity. We must be servants who are faithfully waiting and watching for the Lord to return. We must be ready!
If we decide that the Lord may not return today, then we start living for ourselves (Luke 12:45); and this will mean judgment when we stand before the Lord (verse 46; 1 John 2:28).
The phrases “cut him in two” (verse 46) and “beaten” (verses 47-48) do not suggest there will be physical discipline at the judgment seat of Christ, for we shall have glorified bodies. They are a vivid reminder that Jesus will deal with unfaithful servants and not give them their rewards. It is a serious thing to have a God-given responsibility and not do it.
Read Ron Purkey’s Bible study outlines at rcpbibleoutlines.com free on the website. Purkey has been an ordained Baptist minister for 50 years.