Jesus had an unsettling way of answering people obliquely. In Luke, we read, “be careful to guard against all forms of greed,” when a man wanted him to tell his brother to share the inheritance. Now, sharing is a good thing and Jesus encouraged all of us to do just that. What was at issue, though, was the man’s focus. He was not looking at God but at the property.
In Hosea we read God’s words, “I taught Efrayim to walk…they did not know that it was I who was healing them.” Chosen by God, saved in Egypt, delivered from Egypt, yet they could not remember any of it.
To look like Tom or George.
To win the lottery.
To own a BMW.
To have perfect children.
To have my share of my older brother’s inheritance that I should have gotten anyway because everyone knows my brother is a looser.
If I focus on God, I will be happy for my brother’s good fortune and if he is focused on God, he will share that wealth with me and many others. Jesus was right to refuse to take sides in the dispute because in God’s eyes, neither brother was right.
God went on in Hosea, “for I am God, not a human being, the Holy One among you, so I will not come in fury.” That is the Good News. God does not punish us for our sins, He forgives us in a way that is not human.
In Colossians we read, “The new self allows no room for discriminating between Gentile and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, foreigner, savage, slave, free man; on the contrary, in all, the Messiah is everything.” That is also the Good News. The Messiah gathers us all up and brings us before God to receive his forgiveness.
Give up greed in all things, especially the greed of believing that I alone know the mind of God.