So many people crowded around Jesus that they stepped on each other’s toes. Everyone wanted to see Him and hear Him.
The children reached out to take His hands as He walked through the marketplace. Jesus wanted he children and their parents to know that God loved them. He looked at the children; then He looked up at the bird cages swinging from the rafters of the marketplace. Inside the cages were little sparrows for sale.
Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?” Jesus asked. “And not one of them is forgotten before God.” Then He looked at the people with great kindness in His eyes. “Do not be afraid, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” How good this made the people feel, how happy and safe. They smiled. Jesus smiled back at them.
Suddenly, a man pushed rudely through the crowd and called out, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus looked at the man without smiling. All the while He had been speaking those comforting, beautiful words, this man had been standing there thinking only about his own selfish quarrel with his brother.
“Man,” said Jesus, “who make Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” Jesus was telling the man He had not come to get involved in selfish quarrels. He had come to bring the good news of God’s love and to tell people about the kingdom of heaven. He wanted people to forget their selfishness, to love and help each other.
“Take heed,” Jesus told the man, “and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then Jesus told a story to show the people that earthly riches do not last.
There was a rich man, Jesus told them, who had a very good farm. One year, his fields and orchards produced such an abundant harvest the man had no room in his barns to store the crops and the things he was able to buy. He did not know what to do.
Now the man knew there were poor people all around — people who did not own fields, who did not have good clothes or enough food to eat. If he had unselfishly given some of his crops to them, the rich man would have stored up treasure in heaven. Jesus said whenever we do something kind for someone else, we are doing that kind thing for Him.
If the rich man had loved God, he would have shared his wealth; he would have been a partner with God. He would have had treasure in heaven and been happy and truly rich.
But the rich man did not care about heaven. He was not interested in poor people. He was proud of being such a good farmer, and he wanted to keep all his earnings for himself. He forgot that God had sent the sunshine and rain which made his crops grow. He forgot about all the people who worked hard and helped him to be successful.
He thought only of what he could do to keep everything for himself. I will pull down my barns,” the rich man said, “and I will build bigger ones. Then I will have room to store my goods and I can keep them all.” So he ordered the workers to pull down his big barns and build even bigger ones. He had them fill the barns with all the raisins and dates and wheat, all the olive oil and wine and barley and the other crops his farm had produced.
“Now,” said the rich man, “I can retire and enjoy life. I have enough goods stored up to take care of myself for many years.”
Then God spoke to him.
“Your fool,” said God, “this night your soul will be required of you. Then who will all those things belong to?” That very night the rich man died and lost all he had stored up on earth, and he had no treasure in heaven.
At the end of the story, Jesus looked at the man who had spoken to Him so selfishly. “So is he,” said Jesus, “who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
How do we get the power to make money? Moses tells us in Deuteronomy 8:17-18. To whom does everything on earth really belong? Find the answer in Psalm 50:10-12. Read James 5:1-5 to find out what selfish rich people will do when Jesus comes, and why.
Our Treasure Chest Verse tell us where we should store our treasures:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where thieves do not break in and steal.”