“Watch out! Be on

your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the

abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Allow your

imagination to take you back to this moment, one of many where Jesus was addressing the disciples. Suddenly a man

from the crowd interrupts Jesus by raising his voice. He requires Jesus to be

an arbiter and to divide an estate which was due to him in an equitable way. We

can understand the man saying to himself, if anybody is fair and honest, it

would be Jesus. It is interesting to note that Jesus refuses to get involved. Instead, Jesus

response was that life does not count in having many possessions. This incident

would help the disciples to learn the lesson that life is more important than

material things. To explain this teaching, Jesus told a parable about a rich

man who said, "This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build

bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods." This man

would have considered himself blessed. His fields yielded plentiful crops; too

much to be stored in his barns so he decided to build bigger and better barns

or some may say that he was expanding his business. Most would have admired him

as a capable businessman. Cultures often value a person by what he or she

possesses, whether it be money, influence or stature. But God called the man a fool. That very

night he was to die, and all his wealth would go to others.

It teaches that what we care about most in practice is indicative of the priorities of our hearts. This means that what we do with our money shows what our hearts care about most."


What is the worth

of a person’s life? Clearly that does not depend merely on it’s duration. It

does not matter whether we are rich or poor, successful or unfortunate, clever

or ‘dull.’ The secret and worth of one’s

life consists in how faithfully we carry out our duty towards God and our

fellowman. It has been said that, “The truth is that the value of life depends

on what is done within its boundaries.” As for the ‘fool,’

he seems to claim ownership: “I will

tear down my barns, I will store all my grain and my goods.” He seems to

emphasize, “this is what I will do.” He failed to come to grips with the

fundamental fact that God is the Owner and we are His stewards, managing His

affairs. This passage of Scripture also contains one of the most frequently

quoted verses about money. Verse 34 says, “For where your treasure is, there

your heart will be also,” and gives a good reason for saying so. It teaches

that what we care about most in practice is indicative of the priorities of our

hearts. This means that what we do with our money shows what our hearts care

about most.  

There are two

things that Jesus’ words bring to our attention. Firstly, as Christ’s disciples

we need not live in a state of anxiety. We can trust God for our physical

needs. Secondly, our use of our material resources will reflect our commitment

to God, and the extent to which our hearts are set on His kingdom and His

righteousness (v. 31). If we treasure mere things, possessions, or wealth, then

our hearts will easily be drawn away from God. Like the rich fool, we will seek

meaning in things, and with our vision clouded. We’ll lose our way as

disciples. As good disciples

of Christ, we will feel called otherwise than by our earthly treasures or

needs. Consider the following three calls that must weigh upon the true

disciple’s mind.


As a disciple, we

are called, “…to present our bodies as a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1).

Anyone who is a follower of Christ may be called to relinquish control of life,

possessions, career, traditions and more. Sacrifice cannot remain an abstract

concept. We must be willing to sacrifice anything that we value as essential to

‘life.’ As Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must

deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Discipleship

and stewardship in the kingdom requires total allegiance. This is something

that can be considered as going beyond us as individuals. It is also a call to

us for a united step of faith, the presenting of ourselves as the body of

Christ, as one ‘living sacrifice’ unto God.


In Romans 12:2,

Paul continues by saying that this living sacrifice, ‘Is your spiritual act of

worship.” We worship God in the stewardship of our relationship to Him. “We

worship and glorify God in the self-love that is the love of one created by

God. We worship and glorify God in our selfless service to our neighbor. And we

worship and glorify God in our care of creation….Worship happens in the local

church, in the home, in the workplace and in the community.”1

“We worship God in every area of our lives. If giving is merely to a church, a ministry, or to a needy person, it is only charity; but if it is to the Lord, it becomes an act of worship.

“We worship God in

every area of our lives. If giving is merely to a church, a ministry, or to a

needy person, it is only charity; but if it is to the Lord, it becomes an act

of worship. Because Jesus Christ is our Creator, our Saviour and our faithful

Provider, we can express our gratefulness and love by giving our gifts to Him.”2


Jesus told His disciples to do two things. First, “Love the Lord your

God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with

all your strength,” and second, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He concluded

that in fact, “There is no greater commandment than these” (Mark 12: 30-31,

NIV). In the book of Acts we see how disciples in the early church obeyed these

commands of Christ by meeting in each other’s homes, in the way they ate together, encouraged one another, looked out for one another. Out of a caring relationship

many people were won into the kingdom.

The world we live in is different from the one Jesus calls us to live

in, it operates on the premise of ‘me first.’ The ‘me first’ principle demands

that I take care of my own wants first, like the ‘rich fool’ (Luke 12:13-21)

and to forget the needs of others. Jesus calls us to a life lived with radically different motives

and actions. As the early Christian church continued to grow and expand, the

believers shared ‘everything they had’ because of their commitment to Jesus and

because of human needs (Acts 4:32-35). This demonstrated not only their

unselfish attitude towards material possessions but a distinguishing obedience

to the ‘greatest commandment,’ by Christ’s own. How shall we obey that call in

our world today?

1. Scott R.

Rodin. Stewards

in the Kingdom: A Theology of God in All Its Fullness
, p. 167.

2. Howard L.

Dayton, Jnr. Your Money

, p.74.

Roger Govender

Govender is the Director for Sabbath School & Personal Ministries as well

as Stewardship Ministries for the Australian Union Conference. He also serves as coordinator for the AUC

Training Center. Roger has a passion for

local church leadership development and church growth. He is married to

Delene. They have three adult daughters

and two granddaughters.

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October–December, 2012

God's Treasure

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