(สำหรับคำแปลภาษาไทย อ่านได้ที่นี่ครับ Possessions - Use Them or Lose Them?)
Sometimes people fail to make a right investment. The man in Luke chapter 12 was one of them. He was a rich man, but made the poor investment for eternity.
In Luke chapter 9, Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem. He taught about correct priority in life in chapter 10, and about eternity in chapter 12.
Luke 12:13-21 say about storing up treasure on earth, and Luke 12:22-34 about storing up treasure in heaven.
Storing Up Treasure on Earth
As Jesus was teaching, He was interrupted. There was one man asked Him to divide the inheritance for him.
It is a quite normal thing to happen in that time. When a father died, the inheritance would be divided between the sons. And the rabbi would be consulted to make a decision.
But Jesus saw beyond the question into this man's heart. The man was simply concern about his property. He was greedy and covetous. So Jesus warned him against these things. He warned him against the covetousness, greed, and wanting more than what he need.
And after that, He said about a rich man.
This seems to be a wise thing to save things for the future. It seems that the rich man was a fortunate man. He made celebration for his retirement.
You may probable meet the people like that in this time. They relax, eat, drink and be merry. They go to best restaurants, best bars, and best entertainment. Some people may decide to travel around the world, just to eat, drink, and be merry.
This rich man had not to work. This man seemed to be wise.
But what did Jesus say about him? Fool! He was not a very wise man. He was a fool. He made poor decision in the sight of God. He utterly obsessed not with his God, but his good. He looked for them for his identity, joy, delight, satisfaction, security, and future hope in his life. He did not own them, they owned him. This is deep selfishness.
If you notice, the rich fool said the words "my" and "I" for 11 times, including my crops, my barns, my grain, my goods, and my souls. These were his things, that he earned by himself. He was preoccupied with his own material needs: relaxing, eating, drinking, and being merry.
He was merely living for material things and enjoyed material pleasure. He was obsessing about his good, about himself, and about enjoyment. This is pretty much like the wisdom of this age. But in God's sight, he was fool. This was a poor investment.
This is dangerous, isn't it? It is so easy to be covetous. On the train, there are free magazines giving to you frequently. They contain many interesting and amusing things, about technology, cars, films, etc. These things on magazine are things that you don't need. These can cause covetousness, wanting the things we don't need.
How important are the possessions to us? Do we own them, or do they own us? Are they our servants to be used in the services of God in His kingdom, or are they our masters whom we serve?
Material possessions, told in the scriptures, will always let us down. They will either fade away or break down. Clothes will wear out, cars will rust, CD players will collapse, and computers will crash. Or we will die and depart from them like the fool. Earthly possessions will not satisfy us and will impoverish us in the sight of God.
What is the secret for not being covetous? It is to be satisfied with what you have.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. Be on your guard against covetousness.
Storing Up Treasure in Heaven
And the question is: "What are we to invest in?" and "How are we to live?". The fact is that we need to eat. How are we to survive in this cruel world if we are not trusting in our wealth and possessions?
Jesus said to his disciples, "trust in God, not in good."
The rich fool was obsessed about eating, drinking and being merry. What he thought was only about how to satisfy his body.
And Jesus said there was more to life than just eating and clothing your body. Do not be anxious. Do not seek after these things.
To be anxious means to be preoccupied with, to be concerned, to be taken up with these things.
Martha was anxious about many things. She was preoccupied with temporal things.
The seeds that were sown among thorns were choked by the care and anxiety.
Don't be so preoccupied with temporal material things that you have no time to think of eternal things.
And Jesus gave us 2 examples: the ravens (verse 24) and lilies (verse 27)
How wonderful life is. This world is full of creatures. It is not by chance. Some may say that all varieties of the creatures are by chance, but the bible does not say like that. All are designed. God created and invested it.
God created the world and lives, and He continued to sustain it. God made the world and He sustained the world which He made.
About the ravens, they are not pretty. They are black and not clean. They eat rotten meats. They are an unclean animal. No one will have them as their pets.
God feeds even this ugly undesirable unclean animal. He cares for the ravens. And do you not think He cares for you, a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, made in His image, created to have dominion over the earth, somebody who can know Him, love Him and worship Him?
Does not God care for you whom He has made, and who He has redeemed at the cross by the life of His Son?
About flowers, they are beautiful. They are in the fields and parks, and so short-lived. They may live for 7 days or 10 days, and they are clothed with beauty. And will He not care for you, in whose heart He has set eternity, whom He invites to share eternal life in the eternal kingdom with Him?
Do not worry! God cares for His creation, and He cares for His children. Your father knows that you need them. Will a father see his children hungry and will not feed them? Will a father see his children unclothed and will not cloth them? If God has already given us eternal lives, can we not trust in Him that He will provide us what we need in our lives?
So we don't need to seek after these things. Instead, we are to seek His Kingdom.
This is the key message. His kingdom continues to grow, endures from generation to generation, and never be destroyed.
If you look around the tall buildings, and see the famous people, one day they will be all gone. But the kingdom of God will continue to grow and endure forever.
Seek first the kingdom, which is eternal, lasting, and infinite!
Don't be so preoccupied with life that you cannot dwell in eternity.
Don't be so tired or worried about your home that you have no time to think about the eternal dwelling and the mansion Christ has prepared for you.
Don't be so caught up with earthly pleasure that you have no time to anticipate the eternal pleasure at God's right hand, which is the promise to us.
Don't seek after these things. Seek after God's kingdom, and the rest will be added to you.
What does this mean? This means we can give fearlessly in faith.
I like to read about the people who give fearlessly in faith. There are many men that are so rich in this earth, but they choose to invest the treasure into the kingdom. They hugely successful in this world, and yet are far more interested in the next.
God is the Giver. He will give His kingdom to His children. He will give eternal life. Salvation is the gift. So His people are to be givers.
The rich fool kept all his properties in his barns. He never moved them or never mobilized them for any purpose. But Jesus said, don't do the same. Sell them. Use them. Give to the needy. Give to the poor, both the physical needy whom God cares, or and the poor spiritually who have not heard about the gospel of Christ and who have been preoccupied with this world because they know nothing about the next.
One reason is that it is an investment. Provide them to the money bag that will not grow old. By giving away the earthy money, you are investing the heavenly riches, money bag that will not grow old, treasure that will not fail, something that cannot be stolen or corroded.
AW Tozer says this, "As best a thing as money often is, it yet can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry, and clothing for the poor; it can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality."
This is such a contrast, isn't it?
The rich man who possessed many things in this earth had nothing when he was gone. But believers, when they die, they will inherit the treasure stored up for them in the heaven.
The rich man made the best investment in his life, didn't he? But Jesus said, don't be the same. Send your money ahead. Use it now for the work of the kingdom because where your treasure is, there your heart be also.
The thing that we invest in, are the thing which occupy us. The money is so much magnetic. Our intention, our interest, and our prayer go to work that thing.
For example, if I plan to buy a gigantic tropical fish tank in the market, I go and buy it, and put the fish in the tank. It's likely that I spend a lot of time thinking about it. I will think about feeding it. I will be concerned with it. Nothing is more than just a tropical fish.
But if I invest money with the works of kingdom, there will be what I'm thinking about, praying about, and interested in. Where your treasure is, there your heart be also.
One of things that keep me going during the time of disappointment is thinking about the verse 33, thinking about how He will use the worldly materials for His glory to eternity.
When we get to heaven and looking around, we may meet a person. He may come to you and say that "I came to the church and opened the door. And you gave me a warm welcome, and I got attracted. And I came to know Christ". We can't wait to see what we will have in our investments.
Jesus warns us against greed, against wanting more for ourselves that we need storing up treasure on earth. Instead, do not trust in good, but trust in God, who cares for his creation and his children.
Don't be so preoccupied with the temporary that you lose sight of the eternal. Instead, seek God's kingdom. Invest your time and your resources in that. That's where your heart will be and where your treasure will be on the last day.
Dr. Euan Dodds
Sermon on Luke 12: 13-34
Title "Possessions - Use Them or Lose Them?"
Sunday Morning Service at St George's Tron Church, 09/10/2011
Summarized by Thirayost Nimmanon
NOTE: If you find a mistake in my note, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. (For it may be from my own mistake due to my poor English listening skill.)