King's Business - 1967-03

“ T H E GROUND OP A CERTAIN RICH MAN brought • forth plentifully . . These are familiar words which tell a familiar story: the account of a supremely covetous man who hoarded what he had and lusted for more. The tale is old! But the tale is also new! With just a few unimportant changes, the story can be made truly contemporary. “ The forty-hour-week of a certain employee paid a fine wage . . . ” “The com­ mission of a certain noted sales representative brought a handsome salary . . .” “The stocks and bonds of a certain prominent financier produced excellent dividends . . .” “ The well-tilled acres of a certain modern farmer brough t forth abun­ dantly . . .” Use any such opening you wish, and the remainder of the story can be altered quickly to fit, for the sin of this man is the sin of men today—the sin of covetousness. The story of this rich fool is not an indictment o f wealth per se. Covetousness is not simply “want­ ing more,” or “wanting what someone else has.” It is “wanting more for myself!” Covetousness, therefore, is not peculiar to any one class o f peo­ ple. It may strike millionaire or pauper, laborer or executive, capitalist or communist, farmer or ur­ banite, preacher or lay person. The question is not how much you have, nor indeed, how much more you want, but why you want it! The rich man's sin was an illicit desire for things purely for the satis­ faction of self. He wanted “more” simply to satiate his own desires This story in Luke 12, therefore, constitutes an unmistakably clear indictment o f the man, in any age, who lives simply to possess “ things.” Jesus’ treatment of this theme covers twenty- one verses and falls easily into three divisions. In verses fifteen and twenty-one, we discover first Christ’s EXPOSE of covetousness. Prompted by a question over family finances, Jesus throws the spotlight of His evaluation upon it. He reveals the philosophy of covetousness in verse fifteen. “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Re­ verse the emphasis of this statement, make it posi­ tive instead of negative, and it becomes a clear-cut pronouncement of the philosophy o f the covetous man. “A man’s life DOES consist in the abundance o f the things which he possesses.” In order to really live, a man must have “ things.” More than this, he must have these things in “ abundance.” And he must have all these things for “ himself.” “ Things” are the stuff out of which life is made, the mate­ rial out of which the tapestry o f life is woven! Then Jesus describes the activity of covetous­ ness. In verse twenty-one, He observes, “ So is he that layeth up treasure for himself.” Since a man must have things, these things must be amassed. They must be “ laid up” — a word, incidentally, 9

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