You Can’t Keep What You Get

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?”

[Proverbs 30:8-9]

You don’t get to keep what you get in life. To drive home that truth, Jesus told this story in Luke 12: “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’” (vv. 16-17). This man had too much. He didn’t know what to do with the excess. If he were alive today, he would say, “I am 60 years old, my 401k plan is fully funded, my mortgage is paid off, my kids are grown, and now I have all this excess income–what shall I do?” He could have given some money to his kids or to the synagogue. Instead, he said, “I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry’” (vv. 18-19).

Why was this man so intent on stockpiling his wealth rather than giving it? First, he wanted to have enough money so he would never have to depend on anyone, including God, for his future well-being. Second, he wanted to have enough money so he could quit work and live a life of pleasure. Both of those motivations violate the will of God.

God does not want you to have so much money that you think you have no need of Him. In Proverbs 30:8, Solomon wrote, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’” No amount of money can protect you from every adversity. And no amount of money can protect you from your death.

This man said, “I want to have so much money that I can quit work and live a life of ease.” Some of you are working and saving up all this money, and you are not giving to God’s work like you could because you have to get to a number so you can retire. God’s will for your life is not that you spend the last 30 years waking up every morning with no greater thought than, “What am I going to do to entertain myself today?” That is a prescription for moral and spiritual disaster.

This man had everything he thought he needed for pleasure and protection. He had planned it all out, but there is one thing he didn’t plan for: his own death. “God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’” (Luke 12:20). This man thought he had everything mapped out, but God had a different plan.

Do you realize the time is coming in your life when you are going to leave everything behind? Imagine the disappointment this rich man felt when he realized that he was about to leave behind everything he had worked and sacrificed for. Jesus said, “So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21).

~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~

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