God Cares About The Condition Of Your Heart
By Lincoln Huseby
I believe I am not alone in feeling hurt, betrayed, or cheated by those I love. It’s one thing if a stranger or acquaintance takes advantage of you; but it’s an altogether different game, with a separate set of rules that apply, for those you care about most. More than likely, a scenario (perhaps one from some time ago) raced through your thoughts for the first time in years. If you’re like me, you can remember the rage that seethed in your heart, that felt so justified and right to dwell upon, which seemed more energizing than any amount of sleep could ever provide. At the time, I convinced myself that I wanted justice, not vengeance. I would pray that God would intervene and right this wrong, that he would establish His justice and do what I knew to be right. Then and only then could I be satisfied in the knowledge that fairness had been dealt accordingly.
When turning to the book of Luke chapter 12, we find a man in a situation like those experienced by you and me. Although, unlike us, he gets to ask Jesus face to face about righting this wrong with his transgressor. Now I don’t know about you, but this is a scenario only dreamed of by those who want Justice with a capital “J”. The man interrupts during Jesus’ preaching, and this interaction is recorded in Luke 12:13b: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
The man and the crowd are expecting Jesus as a Rabbi (a teacher of the law) to respond by reciting the law and telling the man who is withholding his brother’s inheritance to be fair according to the law of Moses. The problem with their assumption is that Jesus isn’t a typical Rabbi. He responds in Luke 12:14 -15 in an unforeseeable way: “But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Why does Jesus respond this way? Is he shunting responsibility or being uncaring? The simple answer is no. But, why is that right? It appears he doesn’t even address the problem—his brother is cheating him out of what is rightfully his, and Jesus rebukes the brother who is being mistreated. How does that even make sense?
Perhaps it’s because Jesus has a different value system than their own. I would suggest that he cares much more about their hearts and the direction of them than about their present circumstances. He sees the long term and the reality of eternity as far more important than the effects of unfair or trying situations. What’s my proof of such a claim? Firstly, his rebuke. Secondly, the parable he then shares is not just to the brother but to his disciples and the crowd.
Luke 12:16-21 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: 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 many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 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?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed.” What do you believe will satisfy your heart? Is it eternal or temporary?
Jesus has the uncanny ability of getting to the heart of the matter. When asking him to right a wrong, be willing to question your own failings and greed. Know that he cares greatly for you. He cares about your circumstances and more importantly he cares about your heart in light of eternity.