In our reading today we are continuing with Jesus on His thought from yesterday’s study. He is talking about our treasures and the time they consume in our quest to acquire them. Jesus doesn’t continue His parable from the last reading into today’s topic but I would like to use “Joshua” today in our study.
When we met Joshua yesterday we discovered a man consumed with acquiring wealth for himself and no one else. He cared nothing for his fellow man and sought out only his own comfort. He worried and fretted over every penny he spent and how they were spent. He was a very unhappy man. He never had enough and what he had wasn’t good enough. He REALLY could have used a dose of what Jesus is prescribing for His disciples.
So, using Jesus’ lesson today, how can we help Joshua? Was Joshua being condemned because he was a rich man? No. Was he used as an example because he made plans for his future? Not really. So why was Jesus saying this man was a fool? It was because of where he invested his time, energy, and money.
Joshua had very productive land. In our story we had him enhance that land’s capabilities but Jesus didn’t say he did. He said that the land produced plentiful. This may have simply been God’s blessing to the land. We also don’t know how Joshua came into possession of this land. It was probably ancestral land that was passed down through the years. This was very common in Jewish society. In fact, the year of Jubilee restored lands sold previously back to the ancestral owners. Because Joshua already had barns and they were full, we know that he had been at this endeavor for some time. I’m wondering what kind of “goods” he had in his barns. Could he have had a vineyard and had wines stored there?
Joshua apparently had no family remaining and did not have a family of his own. He had no close friends either. When God called him before Him there was no one to inherit Joshua’s worldly goods. He apparently enjoyed his solitude because when he finally told himself that he could retire he didn’t say one thing about finding a wife or meeting other people. The closest he came to including others is when he included being “merry” in his plans for retirement. This had to be a lonely existence. Certainly a self-centered one.
Joshua was in need of Jesus’ teaching! He needed to listen to the words Jesus shares with us, especially “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (verses 25-26). Joshua was so wrapped up in chasing after the “good things in life” that he didn’t enjoy life and he made those around him miserable too.
Jesus’ words, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy” (verse 33) would have been exactly what Joshua needed to hear. This is where he would have begun making investments into eternal things. Paying his laborers decent wages. Helping those in need. Providing for Levi when he was injured. Paying Mariam a fair price for her goods. These things, though simple and doable for Joshua, would have changed his heart and his eternal destination.
I’m not saying that he could have worked his way into Heaven this way but that his heart would have been open to his fellow man. He would have been tender hearted. This is the kind of heart God can work with. He would have been receptive to God’s word. I will not make a hard fast rule, but I have noticed that those who genuinely care for others usually have a heart for God. I don’t believe it is possible to truly love man without loving man’s creator.
Joshua’s heart was in his earthly treasures. Jesus calls us to put our treasures in Heaven, thereby putting our heart there too. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (verse 34). I have also noticed that you also fill your heart with your treasures. If it were a box what would it contain? The latest toys, a cool car, a huge house and a big bank account OR the smiles of those you have come along side of, the wonders seen through a child’s eyes, the beauty of a sunset created by God, and love like Jesus showed.
Father God, thank You for Your love. Thank You that You care for me personally and that I can trust You to provide for my needs. Help me share what You have given me so generously with those in need. Help me be a good steward of what You have provided too. Give me Your heart towards others. Help me always be investing in Your Kingdom, in one form or another. Let me love like Jesus loved.
Thank You for the smiles of my family. Thank You for letting me spend time with my children and grandchildren. Thank You for the sunsets You paint. Thank You for the flowers You have designed so beautifully. Thank You for loving me so deeply. From now until the end of time, THANK YOU! The best way I can think to do this is to love like You love. Help me to do that every day. Thank You for answering that prayer too.