Teaching about Priorities

KEY VERSE: “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” —Luke 12:40

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Luke 12:13-21, 35-40

WHILE Jesus was teaching the people, a man came to him and said, “Master speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.” (Luke 12:13) Our Lord apparently detected a wrong spirit and conduct which deserved reproof, and he said, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you? … Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:14,15) From the standpoint of the man, however, the request was probably not without reason, given the carnal perception of Messiah held by the Jews. The man evidently reasoned that if Jesus was the Messiah, judgment and justice was to be the basis of his reign (Isa. 9:7), and if this was so why not get the benefit of his just judgment now? Although Jesus did not say so, he implied that his kingdom was not of this age, and now was not the time to render this kind of judgment.

But another kind of judgment was being made among the Jews who were of the right attitude of heart and mind, and this judgment involved life. The life that Jesus was offering was a spirit life that could be obtained only by following in his footsteps and participating in his suffering and self-denial. One of the concepts important in this arrangement is a proper appraisal or evaluation of the offer, as compared to the things of this world. The man was apparently consumed with the desire for the material things of the world and had given little thought to what this was doing to his character. Thus the warning by Jesus concerning covetousness.—Matt. 19:16-22; 16:24-27

The parable spoken by our Lord on the same occasion and to the same group of people is in harmony with our lesson. In this parable there was a rich man whose land brought forth plentifully. There was so much, in fact, that his present barns and store-houses would not hold his wealth. He determined in his heart to tear down the old barns and construct new ones and fill them with his wealth. The account continues, “And I will say to my soul, Soul thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”—Luke 12:16-21

The Lord continued his lesson to his disciples in verses 21-40, from which we quote in part: “The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. … And seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

The second part of the lesson has to do with preparedness. The text reads, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” The thought seems to be that there is an urgent need to pay strict attention to the Lord’s arrangements and requirements if the desire is to be pleasing to him and be privileged to partake of his blessings. The text continues, “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” The text expresses a principle that is applicable especially at this end of the age. The promise is that those who are awake, and have a heart desire to be with the Lord and know of his arrangements will be fed by him through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and have the opportunity to live and reign with him in the kingdom.—Luke 12:35-37

Dawn Bible Students Association
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