Focus and priorities

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
(Luke 12:15 (NIV))

Ask any teenager what they want out of life, and it is an extremely good chance that they will say to make a lot of money. The bad thing about this is that this is a learned response. They have learned it from their parents. They have learned it from the media. They have learned it from each other.

Wanting money and possessions is not bad in itself. The continuation of this passage shows that God is not against someone accumulating wealth. What He is against is doing it for the wrong reasons and making decisions without going to Him in prayer to see if it is within His Will. Luke 12:15-21 tells us that the rich man’s sin was planning without going to God, for he planned for something that was not needed.

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 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 all my grain and my goods. 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.” ‘
“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?’
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:16-21(NIV))

Perhaps our society is too focused on the wealth without focusing on the responsibility that goes with it. We have a responsibility to God, to other people and, lastly, to ourselves. When we focus on ourselves first, our desire for wealth becomes greed. When we focus on others first, our desire for wealth becomes a desire to be able to help others. This goes back to our “learned” responses. If we learn to place God and others first, then greed is not a problem. If we learn to place ourselves first, then we become greedy. It is a matter of training.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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