When Jesus ministered on the earth 2000 years ago, His primary message was centered on the Kingdom of God. And for every Christian, the highest priority is to one day be with Jesus. When we speak of priorities, we usually mean putting things in their proper order. We have in mind a ranking order. We have a saying: "first things first".
In the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, three other men were shot besides President Ronald Reagan. The first priority of the body guards was to place themselves in the line of fire, to take the bullets that were aimed at the President. Within six minutes after being shot, the President was in the emergency room while the other men that were shot still lay on the ground outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. The highest priority was to protect the President; all other people could be replaced but only Ronald Reagan could adequately fulfill the office of the President.
The gospel of Luke 12:13-21 records an interesting account of someone who showed what their highest priority in life was. In this passage there is an individual in the crowd who had somehow procured the attention of Jesus, and, in his one opportunity, asks Jesus the question which had his highest priority. He asks: "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
Here we have someone who could have asked anything he wanted of Jesus, and in his one great opportunity he expressed the deepest need of his heart. In verse 14 we see that Jesus' reply was sharp: "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" Jesus had not come to earth to settle disputes. He was not going to get involved with family squabbles about money. He had not even come to the earth to judge the earth.
In the Bible we read accounts of other people who were also able to get the attention of Jesus. There was blind Bartimaeus who caught Jesus' attention by repeatedly crying, "Son of David, have mercy on me" and in response, blind Bartimaeus received his sight. We read about a tax collector by the name of Zaccheus who was so short that he had to climb a sycamore tree to see Jesus. He caught the attention of Jesus. We read about a woman who was plagued with an issue of blood for 12 years, who had spent all her money on doctors, who reached out to Jesus and in her one opportunity had her deepest need met, and was healed. We read about a centurion whose servant was sick and about to die, saying, "I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed" . . . and the centurion's request was met.
Jesus displayed His power: the blind could see, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk and even the dead could be raised. But in this passage, we have an individual whose only concern was about receiving his inheritance. Jesus quickly came to grips with the real problem. The real problem was that worldly possessions had taken priority in this man's life.
The Kingdom of God is not based on worldly possessions, but upon a benevolent longsuffering God who sent His Son to proclaim the good news of a future government, where there would be true righteousness, peace and joy. Throughout history every man-made government, and every man-made ideal has failed miserably, because of man's corrupt nature and greed.
To make His point clear Jesus then tells a parable about a certain rich man who produced such a big crop that he didn't know what to do. He asks himself, "What shall I do?"
His solution was to build bigger barns to store all his goods, and then he could take life easy by eating, drinking and being merry. But in response God had this to say to him: "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?"
The Bible is full of examples of "Fools" like the Balaams and the Achans and Gehazis who ruined their lives because of their obsession with possessions. To his hearers then and to us today, Jesus says in verse 15 that a person's life is made up of much more than "things".
The picture Jesus painted was of a wealthy man who was completely wrapped up in himself. He has a real "MY" problem: "my barns, my grain, my goods". Jesus gives this man a title; in verse 20 he refers to him as "you fool."
Jesus pointed out two flaws which earned this man the title of FOOL. First, the man thought that things of this world would satisfy. You can have the biggest house, you can drive the most expensive cars, but things will never satisfy the inner spiritual need for mankind. Mankind fails to recognize that apart from God, life has no meaning, no lasting pleasure and no existence.
Second, the fool forgot that he is not in charge. God says to him in verse 20: "This very night your life will be demanded from you." The meaning behind this solemn warning is that just when a person thinks that they finally have enough, without warning their life can be taken.
C.S. Lewis had this to say about such people: "Aim for heaven, and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you get neither." The message in this passage is that we are to live our lives so that our highest priority earns us the privilege of entering into God's rest. The message was for the disciples then, and the message for the church today is: "Aim for Heaven".
Both Velma and Bernice had set their highest priority which was to see Jesus. Sunday Line Ministries continues the work started by these two pioneering women who were totally committed to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God, and today they are reaping the blessings of serving Jesus.