July 4 I Sunday
“Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendour of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendour will not descend with them.” —Psalm 49:16-17
To warn against greed, Jesus tells a parable. “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” (Luke 12:16-21).
There is a term in our modern dictionary to describe the man in that parable—“selfism,” which means “concentration on one’s own interest; self-centeredness or self-absorption.” We see the pervasiveness of selfism as the man in the parable focused on “my crops, my barns, my goods” and “I’ll say to myself.” There is no indication that this man came about his riches dishonestly through robbery or cheating. He was an average, normal, everyday rich man. However, this man did not give thanks or consider that his wealth might benefit others. He simply believed he was to take life easy, eat, drink, be merry and enjoy the good things that he had stored up for himself.
On the surface, greed may appear “respectable,” enjoying our great windfall of resources in life. But greed can grow over time, and we covet for more. John Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest people in American history. At one time, he controlled 90% of the oil and gas industry. A journalist once asked him, “How much money is enough?” Rockefeller answered, “Just a little bit more.” For someone who effectively had everything that money could buy, he was not content—he needed “just a little bit more.”
Greed grows with the need for that little bit more. People can waste their entire life thinking this next thing will make them happy: the next raise, the next car or the next house. But in Jesus’s pointed parable, He revealed the outcome of a life of self-absorption and greed with God saying, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Greed is a dead-end street. The rich man thought he was winning, but he died absolutely alone.
What is “just a little bit more” in our life? Can we surrender that to Jesus and say, “Christ is enough”?
Prayer: Precious Jesus, You are enough for me. Guard my heart from temptation to have the next thing; fooling myself into thinking that it will be enough. You alone are enough. Thank You, Jesus.