"Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus], 'Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.' Jesus replied, 'Man, who appointed Me a judge or an arbiter between you?' Then He said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
- Luke 12:13-14 NIV
I recently heard from a woman whose elderly father was selling off the family land, because he had made some bad investments that had depleted all of his savings. To make matters worse, some of this lady's distant relatives had hired a lawyer to intervene, and to make sure that this father didn't rob them of their share of the inheritance. As this woman poured out her heart to me, she revealed how she had lovingly cared for her father most of her life, even though he had often mistreated her, and taken advantage of her. She felt that she was much more worthy of this inheritance than her relatives, and she wanted me to pray that God would make sure that she got her "fair share."
I sympathized with this woman's plight, and I prayed and asked the Lord how He would have me encourage and advise her. He led me to the Scripture passage above, where Jesus is approached about this very same subject. Notice how Jesus tries to shift this man's focus from the money he feels he has coming to him, to the condition of his heart. This is exactly what I decided to do with the lady who wrote me. I tried to get her to see that it's not a matter of, "How do I get all the material goods that I have coming to me?" but, "How do I handle these challenging situations in a Christlike manner--without letting greed, pride, or bitterness get the best of me?"
The Bible says, "Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud." (Proverbs 16:19 NIV) God would much rather have us lose out on our inheritance--or anything else--than see us participate in backbiting, squabbling, or grasping in order to get what we think is our "fair share." In fact, He says that He'd rather see us "among the oppressed." The Lord has not promised that we'll always be treated fairly in this life, or that we'll always get what we consider our "fair share." But He HAS promised that if we will play by His rules, and concentrate on pleasing Him, He will see that we come out on top somehow. In fact, He says that we will "always have the upper hand." (Deuteronomy 28:13 NLT)
We must never make the mistake of thinking that we can get justice from lawyers, judges, or anyone else. For as the Bible says: "Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that man gets justice." (Proverbs 29:26 NIV) Many Christians suffer defeat when God had planned victory for them, simply because they do not allow the Lord to fight their battles for them. Yes, there are times that we need to seek the help of a lawyer, the police, or others, but only after we've prayed for God's guidance in the matter. And our dependence should never be on them, but on God alone. Scripture says, "A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper." (Proverbs 28:25 NIV) Greed creates strife and division among family and friends, and that's why the Bible says that this kind of behavior is "detestable" in God's sight. (Proverbs 6:16-19) On the other hand, trusting the Lord will position us to receive the divine provision He has for us in every situation. Proverbs 10:22 (NKJV) says, "The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." Only God can provide the kind of financial increase that brings peace and blessing, without sorrow or strings attached. Those who seek to manipulate people or circumstances to gain material wealth will reap a harvest of heartache and misery. If you're a child of the King, you need never worry about getting your "fair share." May this precious promise from God encourage and reassure you today: "Blessings on all who reverence and trust the Lord--on all who obey Him! Their reward shall be prosperity and happiness!" (Psalm 128:2 TLB)
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I've tried to get my "fair share," even at the cost of sinning against You. Help me to trust in You as my Provider and Protector, so that I won't be tempted to succumb to greed, anger, or resentment. Thank You that as I allow You to fight my battles, You will reward me with peace, prosperity and joy!
- J. M. Farro