Jesus said, “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21)
The quote above is the last line of a story Jesus told about a rich man who stored up lots and lots of wealth in bigger and bigger barns. But when he gets his wealth stored up, he then dies and gets to benefit from none of it. His entire life’s work was wasted. Jesus sees this as the ultimate example of foolishness – focusing on the stuff that is limited to this life without focusing more attention on the things that are of eternal value.
If you are a relatively normal person, you probably struggle with this as well. How much should we save? How much should we spend? How much should we give away? How do we live a life that is both engaged in the present and also grounded in eternity?
These are the questions that shape wisdom with regards to our money and possessions. Conventional wisdom says that we should find some balance that fits our resources and our values. First fruits giving ensures that we build generosity in first. Structured savings ensures that we don’t just spend everything that we have left and don’t plan for the long-term realities of life. Living on the remainder allows us to have the things we need and to sustain ourselves in ways that allow us the chance to be happy and productive people.
Jesus knows that this isn’t easy. The temptations to do the wrong thing and to act stupid with what we have can seem like the best way to enjoy life and control our destiny. But the cost maybe losing sight of what matters most and damaging our souls.
It may be wise for each of us to learn from Jesus and get our lives in balance and focused on the right things. We were not created to simply desire more and to accumulate. We were created to receive grace from the God to whom all things belong, and then to use these gifts wisely in ways that bring life to others.