The fiction of material satisfaction ∙
Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own. – Luke 12:15
16 Then Jesus told them a story: A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops.
17 He said to himself, “What should I do? I do not have room for all my crops.”
18 Then he said, “I know! I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I will have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.”
19 “And I will sit back and say to myself, ‘My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!’”
20 But God said to him, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?”
21 Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.
Companies consistently strive to present their earnings in the most flattering possible light. Many corporations have long reported financial proceeds using “Ebitdac.” Ebitdac is an acronym for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.” Ebitdac is also known by the unflattering terms “Sum Craziness” or “Profit Fiction.” Such earnings and profits are illusionary. Losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic were added to the reckoning. Perhaps Ebitdac should now be modified to EbitdacC19.
The reality is that these earnings are pure fiction and are the product of wishful thinking and imagination. They do not conform to reality. Financial prudence and wisdom advise not be deceived by the rosy “Ebitdac” figures. These revenues will never become a reality. They are essentially lost, never to return.
Mark Twain once quipped that civilization was “a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.” It is so easy for us to deceive ourselves and others regarding what is necessary and what is merely a desire.
Covetousness, AKA greed, avarice, rapacity, and cupidity, is the invisible sin. It lurks hidden within the human heart of many of the children of the King. Recall that covetousness is one of the Top Ten things not to do (Exodus 20:17).
“Covetousness is an unquenchable thirst for getting more and more of something we think we need in order to be truly satisfied. It may be a thirst for money or the things that money can buy or even a thirst for position and power.”
“Jesus made it clear that true life does not depend on an abundance of possessions. He did not deny that we have certain basic needs (Matthew 6:32; 1 Timothy 6:17). He only affirmed that we will not make life richer by acquiring more of these things” (Wiersbe).
How can we know the degree of covetousness that lurks within? The Lord Jesus Christ told a story about a wealthy farmer with a great abundance of crops. Your gut reaction to the story can be quite revealing. As you consider the story, do you wish it might be you? Ask yourself, “What would I do if it were me?” What would I do with a great abundance of wealth?
If you suddenly became a wealthy person, would it create ambivalence regarding how you would use your newfound affluence? Would you think about what to buy or acquire? Would you think about how much to give away? Or would you turn to the Father and ask Him, “What would You have me do?”
REFLECT & PRAY
Many children of the King are walking around with undiagnosed diseases. Regrettably, covetousness is often one of them.
Father give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. If I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name (Proverbs 30:8-9).
The wealthy farmer found in his abundance only an opportunity for self-gratification and self-aggrandizement. The needs of others were not on his radar. And sadly, neither was the Father. As a result, all of his decisions were founded on pure selfishness. In this short passage of Scripture, the wealthy farmer refers to himself 11 times using the terms: “I,” “my,” or “myself.”
But the wealthy farmer is ultimately in for a very rude awakening. Wrong thinking and wrong priorities can have severe consequences that are totally unexpected. And so it was for him.
When you experience your first encounter with the Father face-to-face, do you really want the first words you hear to be, “You fool?” That would be a rude awakening, indeed.
Luke 12:20 But God said to him, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?”
If greed and utter selfishness become your primary motivation, it may lead to covetousness and condemnation. Rather than possessing security, lasting satisfaction, and success, the wealthy farmer loses everything, including his life. “Wealth cannot keep us alive when our time comes to die, nor can it buy back the opportunities we missed while we were thinking of ourselves and ignoring the Father and others” (Wiersbe).
If tomorrow you were given a choice to be rich in this present world beyond your wildest imagination or rich toward God and in the world to come, what would you choose?
Many people have been given precisely that choice and have chosen poorly.
22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
23 But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
24 And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!
25 “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”
27 But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”
“People who are satisfied only with the things that money can buy are in great danger of losing the things that money cannot buy” (Wiersbe).
Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011. “Being the richest man in the cemetery does not matter to me” (Steve Jobs)
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important” (Steve Jobs).
Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer, known as neuroendocrine cancer, which grows more slowly and is easier to treat, explains Leonard Saltz, acting chief of the gastrointestinal oncology service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Yet for nine months, he put off potentially life-saving surgery in favor of alternative treatments. By the time he turned to conventional medicine, it was too late.
Are you living in reality with a future and a hope built upon the foundation of the Word of God, or are you living an Ebitdac fiction?