CLB Commentary – Rev. David Rinden
The Gospel of Luke may be divided into three major parts: Jesus’ Galilean ministry, Luke 4:14-9:50; Jesus’ ministry in Judea and Perea, Luke 9:51-19:27; Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem, Luke 19:28-24:53.
The text for today is in the second section—Jesus’ ministry in Judea and Perea. Sixteen of the 23 parables that are found in Luke are in this section. Of the 20 miracles recorded in Luke only four appear in the second section. Right from the beginning of the second section Jesus anticipates his death and resurrection. The second section gives us the teachings of Jesus. Here we find ere insight into the heart and mind of God.
A case may be made for the key verse in Luke being Luke 19:10—“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” The text today shows a man who was lost to the things of God, blinded by his love of money, which had turned into his idol. The man in the parable was concerned only with himself; count the personal pronouns, an attitude also prevalent among us today. Jesus came to save us from ourselves and our sin; in this case greed and the consequences of greed.
Those who plan to preach on the Gospel text for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost should also consider the Old Testament Lesson and the Epistle Lesson. The passage in from Ecclesiastes shows that those who seek happiness in the things of this earth will find them to fail. That which is earthly will pass away. It is only temporary. No one can ever be sure of it.
The Colossians text points us to set our minds on “things above, not on earthly things.” And here is why: “For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
The gifts of God to us far outweigh the squalled possessions of this present world. The gospel text shows us someone in the crowd who wasn’t satisfied with his inheritance and wanted Jesus to tell the brother to divide it, most likely in an even way. That’s when Jesus told this parable, with the warning, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
From an earthly standpoint a person may be successful; yet be a fool. He was a fool because he centered his plans in storing up earthly treasures; in a life of ease and pleasure; and he ignored God who had made all the gifts of this life and the next possible. He was not rich toward God.