"a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions"
You can't take it with you! Or can you? A colleague recently told me about an interesting sight he witnessed. From the vantage point of a busy intersection, a funeral was in full procession. My friend, the captivated onlooker, watched the passing parade: a freshly washed funeral coach, limousines and the assortment of cars and SUVs of relatives and friends all with their headlights beaming. There was nothing out of the ordinary here except what coincidently happened to be following the last car in the procession — a U-Haul truck!
Some people do actually live and die as if they will be able to take it with them. Like the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, many long for an after life; even if it does resemble a "Temptation Island" one. In the gospel of Luke 12:13-21 there is recorded a story about a man who lived and died as if he could take all of his beloved possessions and honors with him. Instead of loading U-hauls and building pyramids however, he was building bigger barns. He lived for the day at hand. He thought that this world would be enough.
The parable that Jesus spoke (Luke 12:16) came on the heels of an inheritance dispute that was brought before Him (Luke 12:13). We are told that there was a person from the crowd who demanded of Jesus that He tell his brother to give him his rightful share of his father's inheritance. Here is a common scenario played out before us. It is a family feud that is as ancient as Cain and Abel and as contemporary as today's family court. Who is going to get the father's inheritance? Who gets the prize?
If you really want to see true human character at work, watch people while the estate is being divided. There are brothers and sisters who are not speaking to each other today because of financial family feuds. These feuding brothers before Jesus were scrambling for dad's money like two kids destroying the Wheaties box in search of the magic holographic baseball card.
Jesus put His finger on the problem of the one who was concerned about getting his fair share. His problem was covetousness! Greed is no respecter of persons. Greed has the pervasive ability to trickle down from the boardroom to the break room. The Bible says much about the dangers of how greed can divide and conquer our heart. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve both God and riches (Matthew 6:24).