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The Cost Of Greed

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
–Proverbs 11:4

The rich fool in Luke 12 had more wealth than he knew what to do with. So he came up with a plan to store up all that wealth and retire. There was only one problem in his planning. He planned for every contingency except one: his death. Verse 20 starts, “But God.” Here is a man who said, “I will do this, and this, and this . . .” But God. God has the final word in all our plans. Man proposes; God disposes. Man plans; God laughs.

I remember talking to a clothier who made suits for people, and he told me about a guy that he made a very special suit for. This client said, “I am going to save this suit for a special occasion.” Then at thirty-eight years of age, before he ever got to wear that suit, he dropped dead unexpectedly, and his wife dressed him in the suit for his funeral.

Death was one thing that man had not planned for, and it is one thing the man in the parable did not plan for. Look at verse 20: “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’” That word for “required” is a banking term that literally means “to call in a loan.” You see, your life is not your own; my life is not my own. Our lives are on loan to us from God, and God can call in the loan anytime He chooses. And on this night, when this man had come up with his great plan, God said, in essence, “Tonight, the loan is called. Your life is required, and who is going to own what you prepared?”

Can you imagine the profound sense of disappointment this man must have felt in that instant? He realized that everything he had spent his life building was all going to be left behind. The world called this man a success, but God called this man a fool. Why? Because he had spent his life accumulating that which he would leave behind at the expense of gaining the only thing that would matter one second after he died, and that was his relationship with God. The problem with greed is not what it gets you but what it costs you.

Jesus added this application in verse 21: “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” As the soap opera says, we all only have one life to live, and we get to choose how we are going to spend that life. Are we going to build it around the temporal, or are we going to build it around the eternal?


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Loosening Your Grip On Greed” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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