by Dr. Samuel Lee   11/13/1995     0 reads



Luke 12:13-34

Key Verse: 12:32

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased

to give you the kingdom."

Study Questions

1.  Read verses 13-15. What did the young man expose about himself

through his question? What warning did Jesus give? What principle did

he teach? What is greed and to where does it lead? (Jas 1:15; 1Ki 21)

2.  Read verses 16-21. What did the rich man want to do with his wealth?

Why was he a fool? (1Co 15:32b) To what does a nihilistic, pleasure-

seeking, selfish lifestyle lead? (Compare the story of David and Nabal in

1Sa 25.) Why was the rich man called a fool?

3.  What are the things people worry about? What is God's antidote to

worry? (22-26) What should we learn from the lilies? How did Jesus plant

faith in his disciples? What must disciples seek instead of material

things? Why? (27-31; Mt 6:33)

4.  Read verses 31-34. How does the reward of the Father contrast with the

rewards the world offers? How can we be rich toward God? (21; 32-34)

How can we overcome fear about future security?




Luke 12:13-34

Key Verse: 12:32

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased

to give you the kingdom."

We have been studying the gospel according to St. Luke, part II. As

we have studied, Luke, the evangelist and historian, is mainly dealing

with the universal truth of God and the absolutes of God. It's amazing that

he wrote this 2,000 years ago. But the problems he has dealt with seem

as if they were today's story. Today's passage deals with man's greedi-

ness and its consequences, which result in death. This passage teaches

us how to overcome anxiety. Most importantly, Jesus teaches us what  our

true human security and everlasting reward is. May God bless us to learn

what the danger of greediness is and what God's true reward to man is.

First, greedy young man (13-21).

Someone in the crowd said, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the

inheritance with me" (13). Perhaps his father had died a few days before.

To mankind, the most important events are birth, marriage and death.

Therefore, this man had to be overwhelmed by sorrow over his father's

death and cry a lot. It was time for him to be serious about life. To our

surprise, this man was only carried away about his share in his father's

inheritance. In short, he was overcome by greed.

How did Jesus answer him? Look at verse 14. "Jesus replied, 'Man,

who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?'" When he heard

what Jesus said, perhaps this man became as frigid as he could be, think-

ing that his share of the inheritance might not be obtained. However,

Jesus did not say this to brush the man aside, but to help him know the

absolutes of God in regard to greed. Jesus saw the deep root of greed in

all people through this one man and he turned to the crowd and said,

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed..." (15a). What is

greed? Well, greed is greed, and these days greediness is largely

condoned. Nowadays greedy people are envied and admired openly.

Look at verse 15a. "Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your

guard against all kinds of greed....'" First of all, greed is as vital as weeds,

which cannot be rooted out even when the most assiduous weeding is

being done. In short, we are helpless to remove ever-growing weeds.

Likewise, greedy people are helpless because of their greediness.

Greed also leads man to death. There was a king of Samaria named

Ahab. He was greedy to get Naboth's vineyard (1Ki 21). Once Ahab

mustered his guts and went to Naboth to buy his vineyard. But Naboth

refused to sell it, saying, "It is my fathers' inheritance." Then King Ahab

went home sullen and angry. He wantonly refused to eat before his wife,

sobbing. Soon Queen Jezebel plotted with elders and nobles to kill

Naboth. In this way, Queen Jezebel took Naboth's vineyard and gave it to

her husband. Then God sent the prophet Elijah to say, "This is what the

Lord says: In the place where you killed Naboth dogs will lick up your

blood" (1Ki 21:19b). Ahab's tragedy is that he did not know that the result

of greed is death. James 1:15 says, "Then, after desire has conceived, it

gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

Jesus said a universal truth in verse 15b. It says, "Man's life does

not consist in the abundance of his possessions." It is true that man's life

does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. One young man was

poor. He could not receive formal education due to his poor family

situation. Through many hardships, he could come to understand the

rugged American individualism. He wrote many novels based on rugged

American individualism. As a result, he received the Nobel Prize in litera-

ture in 1954. Soon he became a man of great fame and wealth. But one day

he committed suicide with his hunting gun. People say that his suicide

was caused by his mental illness. But it is obvious that he was possessed

by multi-millions of demons and he was under the torment of the devil.

There are many people similar to him. Money cannot solve man's problem.

Greed also leads man to nihilism. Read verses 16-20. A rich fool

thought he would be happy if he had material abundance. So he worked

hard and became very rich. He stored harvested crops in all his barns until

they were full. Finally, he made a happy cry. Look at verse 19. "And I'll say

to myself, 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life

easy; eat, drink and be merry.'" He thought money was everything. He

wanted to enjoy sinful pleasure with money. But his decadent way of

thinking reveals his foolishness. First, he made a happy cry, saying, "You

have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat,

drink and be merry" (19). But in reality, his lifestyle was based on nihilism,

the premise of which is, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" (1Co

15:32b). A young man studied architecture. He made some money. Then

he became proud. He abandoned God's mission and bought a good house

in the suburbs. As soon as he moved into an overly luxurious house for

him, he was attacked by liver cancer and died after six months. His wife

is in huge debt. She suffers from deep despair and nihilism.

The rich fool did not know what man really is. He also never knew

the spiritual world. He worked hard and saved penny by penny. Finally he

obtained abundant material wealth. He earned his money through hard

toiling. So he should use his money preciously. First, he must use his

money for the glory of God. Next, he must use his money for the needy.

Finally, for himself and his children. But with his wealth he wanted to only

enjoy a pleasure-seeking life. He did not know that his pleasure-seeking

life would gradually corrupt him until he looks worse than a leper. He was

a fool. He was a man, but he did not know what man really is. 1 Peter

1:24,25a explains what man really is very properly. It says, "For, 'All men

are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass

withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.'" Man

is both body and spirit. Spirit is everything (Jn 6:63). Those who believe

in Jesus have eternal life, the grace of forgiveness of sins, and the peace

of God, and the glorious kingdom of God as our inheritance. Amen.

The rich man was blindly selfish. As we studied in the Lord's Prayer

(11:2-4), God is our Father and we are all brothers and sisters. Since the

rich fool became wealthy, he was supposed to share his great wealth with

the needy. But to his eyes, the helpless and the needy were unseen. This

man cared for no one. He was like a father tiger, who eats everything all

by himself and leaves only bones for his wife tiger and cub tigers. God did

not make man selfish. God made man as a blessing to others. But this man

was selfish. He only thought about himself and his money and pleasure.

He had no idea to care for the helpless. He had no idea to care for the

needy. This selfish man is similar to the notorious tax collector Levi in the

New Testament. When we read the Bible, David was wandering with his

followers because of King Saul's plot to kill him out of his jealousy. David

suddenly became a political criminal. Once, David was in the desert called

Carmel. David and his followers protected Nabal's shepherds from raiders

to feed their sheep well for a long time. Once David needed some food

supply. So he sent some of his men to Nabal for some food. But in his

blind selfishness, Nabal said, "Who is David?" He implied that David was

a political criminal (1Sa 25:10). David's men were greatly humiliated and

came back empty-handed. Soon Nabal heard that David was coming to

him. Nabal's heart failed and he became like a stone. God struck him and

after several days he died. This story tells us the end of selfish men.

Most importantly, the rich man in the parable was godless. Look at

verse 21. "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for

himself but is not rich toward God." This verse indicates that this man

lived in the world leaving God out. In short, he was a godless man. Psalm

14:1 says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt,

their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good." This rich fool did all

the evil things a godless man could possibly do. What was worse, he

thought he had full command over his life, as if he had created himself.

But no sooner did he begin to enjoy his acquisition of wealth and pleasure

than God appeared to him and said in verse 20, "You fool! This very night

your life will be 'demanded' from you. Then who will 'get' what you have

prepared for yourself?" (20)

Second, do not worry (22-26).

Jesus knew that people who live in this world habitually worry

about their future security. There are innumerable anxiety patients and

those who are suffering from heart disease because of their anxiety. Look

at verse 22. "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Therefore I tell you, do not

worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will

wear.'" Jesus knew that they eagerly wanted to be his good disciples but

they also worried because others worried. It is common sense for anyone

to worry about his future. Why then did Jesus tell his disciples not to

worry? It is because worrying makes people form a habit of worrying.

What is worse, worrying hinders us from believing in the promise of God.

When Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not worry," he wanted to plant

faith in God in their hearts, especially for his chosen ones. Read verses 24-

26. "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom

or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than

birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you

cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" By

telling them a plain story, Jesus set his disciples free from anxiety and

helped them to consider the providence of God.

Third, God is pleased to give us the kingdom of God (27-34).

Jesus rebukes his disciples, saying, "O you of little faith!" So Jesus

told them a beautiful story. Read verses 27,28. "Consider how the lilies

grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his

splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the

grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the

fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!" This parable

of the lilies teaches that God indeed cares for his children and the world.

Jesus told them a beautiful story of lilies so that they might open their

spiritual eyes and understand the promise of God. Look at verse 31. "But

seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well." This is

God's promise. St. Matthew valued this promise most. Matthew 6:33 says,

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will

be given to you as well." May God help us not to worry. May God help us

to believe in the promise of God.

How could the disciples overcome their anxiety about the future and

seek his kingdom? The disciples accepted the promise of God through

Jesus. From then on, instead of worrying, they mastered to seek first his

kingdom and his righteousness. They sought God until they found him (Dt

4:29). They did their best to please God by believing the promises of God.

They lived a life of faith. They strove to expand the territory of the

kingdom of God as their mission. When they lived based on the promise

of God, God made them successful whatever they did. Like the disciples,

we also must hold onto the promises of God absolutely and experience

that God's promises are true. With this promise we must encourage others

to have faith in God for their salvation.

Man wants reward for his hard work. Probably the disciples

unintentionally expected a kind of reward for their future. So Jesus said in

verse 32, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to

give you the kingdom." Five dollars is visible. The kingdom of God is

invisible. How can the kingdom of God be their reward? People in the

pagan world run around for fame and money as their reward. But they do

not know what they are doing. At least they must know God appointed

their lifespan. Job 1:21 says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and

naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the

name of the Lord be praised." Though they came to this world with empty

hands and must pass away with empty hands, still these days many

people think that they can live in this world forever with money. Many

people think money is their reward for their hard work. But money is

temporal and spoiling. However, to the precious children of God, the

kingdom of God is the true reward. Jesus' people must sell worldly

treasures to obtain heavenly treasures, that is, the kingdom of God (33).

The kingdom of God is built by the blood of Jesus and it's forever (Rev

5:12). And there are no tears in the kingdom of God (Rev 21:4). Those who

believe in the kingdom of God are the children of God. The children of God

have eternal life and the grace of Jesus and the peace of God. While on

earth, they live as holy pilgrims. May God help us not to worry but believe

in the promises of God.