May 26, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Suzanne Suh, Gracepoint Berkeley

If a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, what does it consist of? Well in v.21 it refers to being “rich towards God.”  What does this mean? If a man’s life is not about the abundance of possessions and if Jesus is calling this rich man a fool because he cannot have the arrogance to even predict when his life will be over then it seems to conclude that our lives are supposed to be about things that last.  What are the things that last? At the end of my life, what is the most meaningful thing that I can invest in and that it can consist of?  At the end of my life the only thing that will really matter is if I know God. I’ve been there at the death bed of someone before or at a funeral and things are really clear what’s the most important thing about life – is to know God and love people to know God.

Count the number of times the words “I” and “my” appear in this passage.  What does this reveal about this man? This man is very self-focused in his view of his life and what he can do. I think Jesus is describing many of us who can get so self absorbed by our own worries and therefore make some plans about things that we need to secure for ourselves. In this particular parable Jesus is talking about abundance of possessions specifically but Jesus did also war against “all kinds of greed.” There are many ways I can be greedy and therefore have a very self-centered approach to how I view things rather than seeing the reality that life is so short and what should be my ultimate purpose, focus in life.

I think one clear example of this is even though graduation is not a funeral but through some significant junctures in life one is able to take stock of what they did and see the fruits of where they invested their time. Even as young as the seniors, they are able to gauge what they invested in, what really mattered even at the end of 4 short years. Through the senior night of sharing testimonies, one encouraging thing was how they were able to see a glimpse of what it meant to be “rich towards God.” I was personally encouraged that they were able to get that small taste of the joy of a truly meaningful life to set the trajectory of the rest of their lives, that life isn’t about investing in simply career to accumulate an abundance of possessions, but about seeking God, coming to know God, then loving others into the kingdom of God and having so many people in their lives they were impacting. This is what it means to be rich towards God and to store up for ourselves riches in heaven.

Submitted by Tony Sun, Gracepoint Berkeley

Luke 3:10-14

How did the people respond to John the Baptist’s challenge to repent?

 

John spoke to the crowd.  Knowing the scriptures from the earlier texts, in the crowd must have been all sorts of people, Pharisees, teachers of the law, Roman soldiers, sinners such as tax collectors, prostitutes even perhaps.  When people heard what John had to say, some of them replied “what should we do” as a way to agree what he said and as they wanted to ask him how to apply it.  What is interesting to note is that only those  who are considered as sinners or Gentiles (tax collector and soldier) asked the question while I am sure other religious people remained silent.  I wonder what was going through the minds of the teachers of the law or Pharisees.  Did they not ask questions because they thought they were beyond it?  They don’t have issues?  This makes me think about what I do when I am listening to the word of God.  Do I pay attention to God’s words and think about how I need to apply or do I just loose focus acting like it doesn’t apply to me.

 

Why would John the Baptist’s instruction to each of the groups that came to him all involve repenting about money?

 

I think the reason that John the Baptist talked to each group to repent about money because that is an easy place to start in terms of repenting oneself before God and work your way in all other areas.  It is easy because you just need to be generous, tell yourself you will pay each time you are out with a group of people for example or you will setup your tithe as auto pay out of your bank account freely if you are too tight about writing out the check each week for offering ahead of time, etc.  These are some ways you can concretely start changing and see results right away if one has issue with money where character change will take awhile.

 

Luke 12:15

If a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, what does it consist of?

A man’s life is consisting of relationship of people both horizontally with your family and you peers as well as vertically with God and those you minister to (not only alone but with others together).  This person in God’s eyes is really rich because not only there is the relationship but all the rich history and memories you are building through these relationships to further fill your life.  This kind of life is indeed an abundant life.

Luke 12:16-21

Count the number of times the words “I” and “my” appear in this passage.  What does this reveal about this man?

About 12 times.  It just reveals how this man is just full of himself.  He only thinks about himself and no one else is in his views. He lived a world where he focused only on his need, his well-being.

 

What was the crucial fact that was missing in this man’s planning?    The crucial fact that was missing in his planning is that no matter how much stuff he stores up, he will not live forever to enjoy those.  His life is not in his hands but in God’s hand.  He has no control over his life and that God can just take his life at any time God chooses and he has no say in that and that he will lose everything.

Reflect on the cause of this man’s spiritual poverty.  How much have I embraced this truth?

This man became to be someone with spiritual poverty because he was living a selfish life where he was serving “money” rather than serving God.  He was so blinded by material possessions that he failed to see how it drove him to be poor spiritually where he couldn’t see the truth about life and how utterly separated he was from God as he had no spiritual interest or desire to want to do anything with God and living a life that pleases Him.  He didn’t know the true state of his life.  He didn’t know what God want in his life.

In what ways can I be rich towards God? I can be rich toward God simply by living a life that pleases Him and in all my life declare my Lordship in regards to how I want to serve God.  It means that I declare that my life belongs to God completely and that I will always put God’s authority over every area of my life before my own authority.  I live my life declaring that nothing is mine and everything belongs to God and treat everything accordingly so that I can freely use it in ways that will please God without feeling like I am loosing what I earned.

 

 

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