Are you offended by that accusation? Don’t be; I’m selfish too! We are all selfish by nature. We seek our own good over the good of others. When forced to choose, we’ll choose, more often than not, to build bigger barns instead of asking God to give us bigger hearts.
Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: 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 ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21)
Our desire for bigger barns is a demonstration of our unbelief. We do not trust God to deliver on His promise to meet our every need in Christ Jesus, so we keep a white-knuckle grip on everything we can get our hands on. We turn our backs on service in pursuit of security. We turn our eyes away from the poor in pursuit of our pleasure. We turn our hearts from the helpless in pursuit of our happiness. We believe the old maxim, “If it is to be, it’s up to me” and live life as if it is a self-salvation project.
Make no mistake, only a right understanding of the Gospel can change our desire away from building bigger barns toward building a bigger heart. Only the truths of the Gospel will transform our hearts to beat more for the Savior than ourselves. Only the Gospel message will deliver us from our desire for self-protection and open us up to a life of self-sacrifice.
There is something beyond bigger barns, and it is the place where we are living more for the expansion of His kingdom than the expansion of our own. Living as subjects in His kingdom, we demonstrate to a watching world that it is not only far better to give than to receive, but it is far better to simply keep on giving! This is what our Lord has done and continues to do for us each and every day; His Spirit transforms us from demanding consumers to delighted contributors.
When has God ever let you down? When has He been unfaithful to even one of His promises? To be sure, He may not have given you what you were looking for, but He gave you something so much better; He has given you everything that works together for your good! God is gracious when He gives to us . . . and also when He withholds from us. He knows what is best, He has promised to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), and we need to simply trust in Him.
Remember that Adam and Even tried the first self-salvation project in the Garden of Eden, and it was a catastrophic failure! But God did not leave them cowering in the shrubbery; He pursued them and promised to send them their true Savior, who would once-for-all deliver them from their self-salvation projects and their desire for building bigger barns.
Beyond bigger barns is an enlarged heart that beats for the King and the advancement of His kingdom. In remembering all that our King has done for us and all that He has promised to do for us in the future, we are set free to let go of the stuff of this life and cling to what will come in the next. At this level of living, His concerns become our concerns . . . our passion . . . our everything!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!