“Look at me,” he said, “I got it made. Look at this house I bought. My parents never lived to their retirement, but I’m retired. Life is good, I eat and drink my fill. All right!” These were the words of an older guy I met in Florida last summer. He was from New York, and just recently bought his retirement dream home. This house was all his treasure, value, and happiness in life; his whole life revolved around it. I couldn’t help but look at him in sadness. How could he be so blind?
Jesus taught His followers in Luke 12:15, “Take care, and be on guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Followers of Christ are to stand in defense and protect their hearts against wants, lusts, and desires for more money and more stuff. The value of disciples’ lives is not in how much money and stuff they have. We brought nothing into the world and we’re not taking anything with us when we die. We must be content, and learn to be content, with modest means God has given us. The love of money (and stuff) is the root of all kinds of evils. The love of money (and stuff) is senseless and harmful and leads to all kinds of ruin and destruction. This is where this guy and his Florida house are heading, apart from Jesus.
Jesus made this point next, in Luke 12:16-19, and I imagine He would say it to this guy in Florida. “You fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” What does God think of this guy and his house in Florida? The value of a person’s life is not his money and possessions, but being rich toward God (Luke 12:21). There’s nothing wrong with money and stuff in themselves, BUT where does that overtake you, in covetousness? Where does it rule over you, and you become a slave to them, and your heart is drawn and invested there, and that is your salvation and sufficiency? Does God call you, “Fool?”
Instead, followers of Christ are rich towards God (Luke 12:21). They have a relationship with Him, they hear and obey His Word, they mature and have a deeper and closer walk with Him. They recognize it is His money to manage and use for His purposes, to His glory. They seek His kingdom first and their hearts treasure Him and all He provides. He is the solid rock on which to stand, everything else (even a retirement home in Florida) is sinking sand.
We shook hands, I wished him well, and I shook my head. I couldn’t help but look at him in sadness. How could he be so blind?