Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
- (BBE) Take care to keep yourselves free from the desire for property; for a man’s life is not made up of the number of things which he has.
- (CEV) “Don’t be greedy! Owning a lot of things won’t make your life safe.”
- (GW) “Be careful to guard yourselves from every kind of greed.Life is not about having a lot of material possessions.”
- (ISV) “Be careful to guard yourselves against every kind of greed, for a person’s life doesn’t consist of the amount of possessions he has.”
- (MSG) “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed.Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”
- (NLT) Then He said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed.Life is not measured by how much you own.”
I thought the nuances drawn out in the above verses were interesting. All valid ways of translating the text. Notice the direct link back to the property mentioned by the man regarding his inheritance in the BBE. Owning things won’t make your life safe. Especially that part of your life which is on-going, eternal. Your spirit/soul. That after all, is where life is held. It is in the soul. God breathed into the man and he became a living soul.
- We will indeed live forever. So take care of the forever part.
- Life is not defined by what you have,
- Life is not measured by how much you own.
- Life is not about having a lot of material possessions.
The quality of life depends on what we make of our possessions [huparchonta] -those things which we have in our hands. The duration of our life depends on God, who gives us breath and soul for a season. A man can’t preserve his life on the basis of his possessions. Possessions can never serve to make your life secure. In the fact the more we have, the more we worry about them and protect them. Wealth and riches, even more to the point, those things we have in our hand, change with changing times. The danger of things, possessions and even worse, the greed that comes with them, leads those who hold them to direct their attention in the wrong direction. To ignore what is really important in life, in order to chase the temporal. That is what possessions are, temporal things that we hold in our hand for a period of time.
Think about what you have owned over time. What are some of your most treasured things? Do you still have them? Especially when it comes to clothing, to name but one generic item. Those things that I have thought were my favourite things to wear, either faded, fell out of fashion, got damaged or I grew out of them. “Oh, but not with modern gadgetry Ian, they are of far better quality and worth.” Oh really? Buy a computer, handphone, iPod, iPad or I-anything and then wait 6 months. It will be obsolete and you will be “needing” a new one. This modern world is geared to high turn over, temporary use items. No matter how expensive they are. Just make sure the through-put of things in your life is not matched to the through-put of people in your life. Sow into relationships, don’t sow into things.
Your life is not a possession you hold. God holds it for you and loans it to you. Your longevity has nothing to do with your possessions. In other words you don’t possess your soul. God does and loans it to you for a season. Think back to the days of creation. Genesis 2:7 reads literally:-
“And YHWH formed the man [out of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”Genesis 2:7
It is God who gives you each breath. Your soul is not yours to keep; it is on loan from God. The man in the following parable which Jesus uses to illustrate the point, made the mistake of thinking that his soul was his possession. In fact, I would go so far as to say we are stewards of all that God gives us. How you use it and what you use it for, determines the quality of your life. The biggest mistake of the man who wanted Jesus to tell his brother to share the inheritance with him, was that he valued the possessions above his brother. Foolish! The brother is eternal; the things, very very temporal.
Then comes the parable to explain the verse. Read it now. Maybe you will find some new light shed on the following parable. Have a read of it before we start picking it apart.
And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’
Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I 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 many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”Luke 12:13-21
Learn to put God first; Don’t wait for six strong men to take you to church.Anon
Some of my friends are very poor; the only thing that they have is money.Paulo Coelho
Sew into eternal things – remember people are eternal. Use your life to sew into the lives of those God brings across your path.Ian Vail
Don’t love things and use people; rather love people and use things.Anon