Wednesday, May 22

Generosity: The rot of disobedience

“And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: 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 ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.’” Luke 12:16-21 (ESV)

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. . . . The people curse him who holds back grain, but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.” Proverbs 11:24 & 26 (ESV)

If Boaz modeled the fruit of generosity, the rich man in this parable illustrated the rot of greed. First, notice the man’s self-absorption—I have nowhere to store my crops, I will tear down my barns, I will store all my grain and my goods. He failed to acknowledge that all he had came from God.

Second, the rich man disregarded God’s clear directives as to what he should do with his harvest. He did not leave excess for the poor or give the required portion to the priesthood. He did not thank God for it. He did not even try to sell it so others could have something to eat.

Third, he found his refuge in his harvest. He allowed his prosperity to fool him into thinking he had all he needed for the good life. He found God no longer necessary.

God responded with frighteningly strong words. When it comes to greed, God is not messing around. He rightly understands it as deadly poison. We find here a paradox. By hoarding his wealth, the man thought he could preserve his life. It had the opposite effect.

Generosity is the obedient, sacrificial giving of something precious for another’s betterment and our preservation.

Question: What manifestation(s) of the rich man’s greed do you find creeping up in your life?

Justin W.