June 28, 2010 David Balzer

Lk 12: 13-21: A Man and his Shed

I reckon there’s something beautiful about a really good shed. You know the sort? Full of lumps of timber, broken chairs, and glass bottles of screws and nails. Dozens of hooks for hanging shovels and bikes and toilet plungers on. All sorts of odds and ends poked away in corners.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working, or retired .

It can be messy with no order at all, or neat and tidy where everything has its place.

It could be in the backyard Or out in a back field.

It could be a serious work shed, or just a place for a bloke to sit and think.

But what all sheds seem to have in common/ is that they’re full of … USEFUL things. Or JUNK depending on who you are. But they’re things you “might just use one of these days”.

And the funny thing is, I reckon sheds teach us something about HUMAN RE. They teach us about the THINGS WE TRUST IN. The things we make our priority. Our sheds are a reflection of our focus on STUFF.

Making sure we have enough STUFF, is what life’s about.

It’s crazy, isn’t it? We know we’re all going to die. And we know we can’t take it with us when we go. But it’s so EASY to spend our lives accumulating STUFF. And then all that happens/ is that when we die, SOMEONE ELSE throws it all into a skip, and it goes to the dump.

Jesus calls people like that FOOLS. ONLY FOOLS THINK LIFE IS JUST ABOUT COLLECTING STUFF. Jesus says LIFE IS ABOUT BEING RICH TOWARDS GOD.

Being rich towards God. What does it MEAN to be rich towards God? It means to GIVE HIM HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE. Not to push him out. And not to put ANYTHING ELSE there in place of him.

Look at how Jesus describes it. Luke chapter 12, verse 13. Jesus doing what he often did. Teaching the people. And a heckler from the crowd calls out! Verse 13. “Hey Teacher, tell my brother to divide Dad’s inheritance with me.”

A disputed will! It happens all the time today, doesn’t it?! The courts are full of family squabbles just like this one.

This man’s saying, “Getting my share is more important than family, More important than a relationship with my brother. In fact, getting my share is the most important thing in the world”

And what does Jesus answer? Verse 15

(Luke 12:15 NIV)  Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of his possessions.

“A MAN’S LIFE DOESN’T CONSIST IN THE ABUNDANCE OF HIS POSSESSIONS” It’d make a great car bumper sticker, wouldn’t it? A MAN’S LIFE DOESN’T CONSIST IN THE ABUNDANCE OF HIS POSSESSIONS.

Jesus is saying “You need to get your your priorities right. Because there’s more to life than STUFF. “

You know, some of the world’s greatest philosophers find their work on bumper stickers! A complete world-view summed up on a piece of sticky plastic!

The answer to the meaning of life? WHOEVER DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS WINS! (I’ve seen THAT sticker around)

And that’s the sticker THIS guy’s got on the back of his chariot. “Whoever dies with the most toys wins”.

But Jesus says, No! A man’s life DOESN’T consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Jesus’ sticker says something else  “Whoever dies with the most toys STILL DIES!”

1. The Perfect Man:

And to make his point, he tells a story. It’s a story about A MAN AND HIS SHED.

In lots of ways he was a success! On the surface, we’d probably look at him, and think he had his life together- He knew WHERE HE WAS GOING, and HOW HE WAS GOING TO GET THERE!

Look at it in v 16. He was a RICH MAN and he was A FARMER.

He’d worked hard, and the land had responded. Hard work, good weather. A bumper harvest! The buyers pay top dollar. And he reaps the reward. Rich and hard-working!

But he wasn’t JUST a hard worker. He was into PLANNING HIS FINANCIAL FUTURE! Setting himself up for life. Look at v17.

{17} He thinks to himself, ‘What shall I do? I’ve got no place to store  my crops.’ {18} This is what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I’ll store all my grain and my goods.

He was looking to maximise his earning potential. Investing in capital improvements. You see bigger sheds means bigger harvests And bigger profits. This guy wanted the mother of all sheds.

Rich, hard-working and intelligent! What’s more, today we’d say he was a MODERN man. Because he had his priorities in order. He wasn’t married to the JOB. This was no workaholic!

‘Cause his hard work was for A PURPOSE. He wanted to get the most out of life. Take early retirement. To enjoy the good things in life. Verse 19.

{19} I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘

It’s the goal of many people today, isn’t it? Work hard now, build up the nest egg. And enjoy things later.

So this man seems to have everything! On the surface, he’s the PERFECT man. Rich, hard-working, intelligent, financially astute, but well-balanced! He’s someone to be envious of. Someone to ASPIRE to be like! A man DIFFERENT from all the rest of us!

2. The Perfect Fool:

And then in one short paragraph, Jesus drags him down. He rips off his pretentions, and leaves him standing there. . For everyone to see what he’s really like. Because he’s really just like everyone else! He’s not someone to LOOK UP TO. He’s someoone to FEEL SORRY FOR. Look at verse 20.

“But God says, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who’ll get what you’ve prepared for yourself?’

All his plans come to nothing. All his SHEDS worthless. All his POSSESSIONS given to someone else. – the great equalizer – had struck. And left him with nothing! What a fool!

And I think there are two things that made him a fool. Two mistakes in the way he viewed the world. Two lessons we need to learn.

1. the world is more than collecting stuff.

First, he thought the world was about collecting stuff. But the world is MORE than collecting stuff.

He’d thought he was planning long-term. But it wasn’t long-term ENOUGH. He’d planned for RETIREMENT. But he hadn’t thought about .

His planning only stretched as far as grey hair, a stiff back, and golf three times a week. He’d forgotten about heart attacks, or cancer, or , or life-after-death.

(slow) All of THOSE things are real. And they’re all things you can’t buy with money. Or stockpile in sheds. All things you can’t control with a sound investment strategy.

There’s more to life than THINGS. ETERNITY is a reality! And Jesus says, “Only FOOLS think differently!”

(That was the first mistake the rich man made!)

2. He believed the world centred on him

The second reason the man was a fool was because he thought THE WORLD CENTRED AROUND HIM. He made decisions, and went about his business, as if HE was the one who controlled things. Verse 17.

(Luke 12:17-18 NIV)  “He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ {18} “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.”

And that’s the way most of US work too. We think WE control our destiny. That things turn out a certain way because WE CHOOSE it.

But sometimes we get a wakeup call. In reality, our grip on things is really pretty slippery! One drunk driver, one wet road, one fast-multiplying cancer cell, one moment of weak self-control, one small financial down-turn, one furious hail storm.

ONE SMALL EVENT is all it takes to lose the things we value in this life.

When you think about it/ there’s not really much we CAN control. Houses, cars and boats, the fickleness of another person’s emotions, our own health, or anyone elses for that matter, the security of our jobs or wealth.

A of years ago in America, you might remember the sharemarket fell (show o/h). And high tech stocks like internet and computer companies were hardest hit. They STILL haven’t recoverd. Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, lost 18 and a half BILLION dollars US in one day! 18 and a half BILLION! If Bill Gates can’t control things, how much control do YOU have over life?

The rich fool thought HE controlled his destiny. But the reality is/ GOD’S in control of everything that happens, and we’re dependent on him for every breath we take. And Jesus says, “Only a FOOL thinks differently!”

You can imagine him, can’t you? Working back late at the office. Poring over the blueprints for the new BARN DEVELOPMENT. He’s so engrossed he doesn’t notice the time. The clock ticks on, the candle burns low. He rubs his eyes with tiredness.

Suddenly he’s startled by a knock on the door. God is standing in the doorway. It’s time. Your innings is over. Your life is finished. ‘You FOOL! This very night your life will be demanded from you. THEN who will get what you’ve prepared for yourself?’

But wait! It can’t be time, yet! I’ve still got so many more plans! So much to do! So much to spend! It can’t be time! No! No! No!

A week later dozens of people gather at the graveside for the funeral. It’s a beautiful ceremony. The wealthy and reputable are there. The movers and shakers of industry and finance. People make moving speeches about how well-respected he was. His family cry softly. The coffin is lowered. The grave is filled-in. The headstone is set. The epitaph is very moving. It sums up his life well. Some of the major events of his life. The things he achieved. His favourite bumper sticker!

But you know, there’s ANOTHER headstone. And Jesus has written the epitaph. A second message that sums up this man’s life. And IT’S the one that counts. It’s very short. Doesn’t take up much room at all. In fact it’s only one word. F.O.O.L.

And Jesus concludes his story. Verse 21.

(Luke 12:21 NIV)  “”This is how it will be with ANYONE/ who STORES UP THINGS FOR HIMSELF/ BUT ISN’T RICH TOWARD GOD.””

ONLY A FOOL builds riches on earth, and ignores God. ONLY A FOOL is more concerned with his FIVE YEAR PLAN than his ETERNAL DESTINY. ONLY A FOOL stores up things for himself, and isn’t rich towards God.

What will YOU be doing when God knocks on YOUR door? What sort of barns are YOU building? What’s the centre of your life? The thing that gets you up in the morning.

Jesus says that if it’s anything that’s PERISHES, then you’re chasing after FOOL’S GOLD. COSTUME JEWELLERY. And you’re a fool.

I don’t need to convince you you’re going to die. And I don’t need to convince you that when you do/ all the stuff you’re collecting is worthless. The question YOU need to deal with is – what are YOU going to do about God? What place is God going to have on your list of priorities? At the bottom? The LAST person you’ll think about?

Or at the top. Where he belongs. Will you be RICH towards God?

All the financial planning in the world can’t prepare you for . Because there’s only ONE retirement plan with ETERNAL benefits. One treasure worth chasing….  BEING RICH TOWARDS GOD is what life is all about.

But it’s not an UN- , UN-WORLDLY thing either. Being rich towards God isn’t something that’s WEIRD. It’s not a trade-off of being MISERABLE in THIS life, so you can get HEAVEN in the NEXT.

Being rich towards God is what we were DESIGNED for. Life is at its BEST when we have God at the top of our list. I can say that for sure!

It’s like using non-genuine parts in your car. Things work better with genuine parts. Anything less is second-best. And God designed people to include him.

But being rich towards God is more than just moving him up our priority list. Trying a bit harder. It’s about being FRIENDS with him. Having PEACE WITH GOD.

And the amazing good news of the Bible is that God gives us a way to be his friends. To be DECLARED INNOCENT – acquitted – by the JUDGE OF THE WORLD!

And it’s all to do with Jesus.

Listen to what Romans chapter 5 verse 1 says. It’s printed there for you. “Therefore, since we have been JUSTIFIED THROUGH FAITH, we have PEACE WITH GOD through OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST”.

If we skip over the first part of that verse for a moment. The second part talks about HAVING PEACE with God THROUGH JESUS. When it comes to getting ready for . When it comes to PEACE WITH GOD, it’s not WHAT you know. It’s WHO you know that counts! And it’s through knowing JESUS that we have peace with God.

But what is it that Jesus has DONE? It’s all about his on a cross on our behalf. And that’s where the first part of the verse comes in. It says that we are JUSTIFIED by FAITH.

To be JUSTIFIED means TO BE DECLARED INNOCENT. To receive a “not guilty verdict”. And that’s something WE ALL need. Because no one measures up to God’s perfect standard. Whether we CONSCIOUSLY disobey him, or whether we just IGNORE him. And don’t give him a second thought.

None of us are RICH TOWARDS GOD in the way he demands. And that means we ALL deserve God’s guilty verdict.

But the good news of the Bible. The good news of THIS VERSE. Is that God is willing to give us a “not guilty’ verdict. To JUSTIFY us.

And this verse says/ that’s an offer for anyone who TRUSTS in Jesus. Who has FAITH.

Well, what does THAT mean? There are FOUR PARTS to showing that faith. And it’s as easy as A B C D.

A is for admit. We must ADMIT that we deserve God’s guilty verdict. Admit that we’re lost without Jesus’ help. And that can be a hard thing to do. But it’s true. Admit that we’re guilty.

B is for believe. We must believe that Jesus’ was punishment for OUR sin. He was OUR substitute.

C is for Confess. We must confess our rebellion against God. Own up to the list of OTHER things we’ve been rich towards. Rather than being rich towards Him. And ask God to forgive us. And that’s something God LOVES to do.

And D is for declare. We must declare that Jesus is our King. We must seek to live for HIM. That’s what a Christian is. Someone who seeks to follow King Jesus.

If that’s something you feel you’d like to do. In a few moments you’ll have the chance to do just that. To tell God that you’re serious about doing each of those things. To admit to him your guilt. To believe in the work of Jesus for you. To confess your rebellion. To declare your allegiance to King Jesus.

But perhaps you’re not at that stage yet. Perhaps you’ve still got some questions. That’s fine. We don’t want to rush you, or pressure you, into doing anything.

But at the same time. Don’t put it off. This is much too important. Speak to the person who invited you. Or speak to me. There are short courses we can do with you that explain things more. There are books you can read.

But don’t do what the rich fool did. Don’t put it off until it’s too late.

But perhaps becoming a Christian is something you WOULD like to do. Here’s a prayer that might suit you. It’s printed there in your outlines. Have a look at it now.

I’m going to pray it through slowly. If this is something you’d like to pray, then repeat the words to yourself, just in your own head. When I’ve finished I’ll say ‘Amen’. If what I’ve said is something you can agree with, then let me encourage you to say ‘Amen’ as well. It just means ‘I agree’.

Dear God. I ADMIT that I need you/. Without your help, I’m guilty and without a hope/. I’ve ignored you/, and deserve your condemnation/. I BELIEVE that Jesus died to take MY punishment and guilt/. I CONFESS my sin, and ask for your forgiveness/. I DECLARE that Jesus is my King/ and that I will seek to live for him/ Thank you that you hear and answer my prayer/ Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, and meant it. Then God promises that you’re now his friend. And you’ve just started on the most exciting journey in life. The journey you were DESIGNED for.

We’d love to help you on that journey. And that’s what church is all about.

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