Getting What We Need, Not What We Want


Not what he wanted to hear

Once someone interrupted Jesus’ teaching with this demand: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”

Jesus’ reply was blunt: “Man, who appointed Me a judge or an arbiter over you? 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 12:13-15).

He then told the parable of the rich fool whose attention was focused entirely on material pursuits, with no thought of eternity. “So is the man,” Jesus said, “who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Lessons for us today

Not only does Jesus teach us a needed lesson on materialism (a growing problem in our culture), but also that sometimes we get what we need instead of what we want.

This man wanted Jesus to help him get the money he thought he was due. But instead Jesus gave him what he truly needed—a warning against greed.

What happened next?

Did the man heed the warning, drop his grievance, and learn to look at life from Christ’s perspective? Or did he go looking for someone else to help him get what he wanted?

He had a choice, and so do we. We can ignore Jesus’ warning and return to business-as-usual, or we can do some healthy self-examination.

Is it possible that we too have been infected with what has been called “accumulitis”? This disease is highly contagious and certainly fatal—unless we take Jesus’ prescription and learn what it means to be truly rich toward God.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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