What is the focus of your life? Is it seeking things to be happy or achieving important goals? And what if your life was suddenly taken from you today? Would you be ready, or so focused on this life that you were not ready for the next? Questions like this can make us think and may reveal that our life needs some adjusting.
Related to this, a man in a crowd once called out to Jesus, wanting Him to get involved in a personal matter. He was having a dispute with his brother over the family inheritance. In response, Jesus made a profound statement, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Jesus laid His finger on the real problem. It was not his brother, but the man’s focus. He was being tempted by the potential wealth he could have with some of the inheritance, and all the things he could do with it for himself.
Jesus knew this temptation was a common problem in the human heart, so He told a story to illustrate an important truth.
He shared about a wealthy farmer who had a tremendous harvest, “. . . and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: Iw will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ (Lk. 12:17-19)
Now if Jesus ended the story at that point, there would be nothing to learn. Instead, He continued with these striking words, “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Lk. 12:20- 21)
The farmer’s life focus was the “here and now.” For him, his life revolved around his work, building wealth, and making plans for his future. The farmer gave no thought to anything beyond his own interests, nor to the eternal, spiritual or anything of God. As a result, his Creator called him a “fool.” Why? Because all the things he focused on would mean nothing in the next life. He could take none of it with him. At death it would all be ripped away from his earthly hands and left behind to others.
Let us not be so quick to condemn the farmer. If we are honest, many of us are much the same. The temptation to become fixated on this life is real, because there is so much that grips our attention. The more and more stuff we buy, the day-to-day challenges, the busyness. We all have fallen prey to this common enemy. That is until a major crisis hits.
Cancer. Car accident. Heart attack. Natural disaster. When things like these suddenly appear, it is often a wakeup call. The farmer was focused on this life, storing up things for himself, when God announced, he was going to die that very night. That was not in the farmer’s plans. He was not ready.
Do not wait until tragedy hits your life before you discover what is most important. Open your eyes now to the eternal, the spiritual, the things of God. Prepare for the next life before it is too late. Jesus died and rose again to show us our urgent need and greatest priority. That is, to prepare to meet God and live for Him. Store up heavenly treasure though sharing the good news of Christ, obeying God’s commands, being faithful toward Him, forgiving those who have hurt you and loving your neighbor.
A prayer for you. “Lord God, show us if we have put the stuff of this life ahead of you. We admit and repent from our ways. Change us, O God! Become the priority in our life and prepare us for the next, whenever that day should come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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