Luke 12:13-15 – Someone out of the crowd said, "Teacher, order my brother to give me a fair share of the family inheritance." He replied, "Mister, what makes you think it's any of my business to be a judge or mediator for you?" Speaking to the people, he went on, "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot." (MSG)
Job 9:33 – If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together. (NLT)
Recently, I heard the news that an older cousin had passed away. As always, when someone I know dies, I immediately reflect upon old memories of family and friends. I think about losses I have experienced over the years and how much has changed since then. For instance, distance has separated relatives who live far away and rarely keep in touch. But in other situations, I have seen families torn apart due to financial disputes. Once, I attended a funeral where an angry quarrel erupted between two brothers in front of the mourners. So in times such as these, I am compelled to evaluate my life and the things that matter most.
As I considered the transience of life and the value of material possessions, I found today's passage in Luke rather interesting. I was impressed by Jesus' response to the man in the crowd who asked for a mediator — He simply refused to get involved, and instead, turned the discussion to greed. Moreover, since Scripture does not tell us the specific details surrounding this case, the circumstances are left to our imaginations. One possible scenario is that the man's brother received a double portion of the inheritance, if in fact he were the eldest son according to Jewish custom. It is also possible that the man had been cheated. Regardless, I cannot help wondering why the man approached Jesus in the first place, since his claim could have been resolved by the experts in the law.
By way of contrast, Job, in the oldest book of the Bible, also made an appeal for a mediator. However, unlike the man in the crowd, Job had suffered the loss of family, friends, and health as well as material wealth. His complaint was that there was no mediator to defend his reputation and represent him before God — someone to stand in the gap and plead his case before a righteous and holy God. But in the end, God rewarded Job for his faith and blessed him with twice as much as he had before.
Pondering the significance of these two unrelated stories, I believe that we can all learn from their example. The anonymous man sought material wealth above the Lord; but Job proved to be a man of faith. Since Jesus warns us to be on guard against all kinds of greed, I suppose that it can sneak up on the best of us in the form of many disguises.
As new covenant believers, we understand that Job's plea for a mediator was fulfilled in Christ. Our faith is clearly outlined by the apostle Paul:
1 Timothy 2:3-6a – This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity — the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. (NLT)
Jesus' role as mediator is not to make sure we are wealthy but rather that we may be rich in our relationship with Him. Therefore, focusing on the blessings He has graciously provided, what do we value the most?
Prayer: Lord, we confess that without You, life is meaningless. According to Your Word, keep our hearts away from worthless things and our eyes upon the eternal inheritance kept in heaven for us through the precious blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in Whose treasured name, we pray. Amen.
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