And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Jesus encountered many different kinds of people during His ministry on Earth. People came with all kinds of requests and all kinds of needs, from illness to demons to questions, and Jesus responded in some way to all of them. This man approaches Jesus seeking that He settle the matter of his inheritance with his brother. It had been a common thing in Israel for the men of God to act as judges and help settle matters among the people. But Jesus’ response is basically, “That’s not what I’m here for.” Instead He makes it about a much deeper issue.
On the surface, it may have been about dividing the inheritance, but the real issue was covetousness. The real issue was sin in his heart or the potential for it. And that was Jesus’ realm, because He came, as the Light of the world, to shine a light in the darkness and expose our sin and then to save us from it. He came to deal with matters of the heart and the soul and eternity, not merely these earthly things that so concern us at times.
So what is our matter of conflict? What is an issue we have that we just can’t get over? And what deeper heart issue may be at the core of it? If we are willing to let Jesus help us with that deeper thing, the surface issue will resolve. If this man took to heart Jesus’ words, perhaps he realized that his relationship with his brother was more important than possessions and riches. And maybe covetousness is at the heart of our issue, too, or maybe it’s pride or jealousy or bitterness or something else that keeps us from having peace in our lives and showing love to others. May we be willing to respond when God touches on something in our lives that we need to get right so we can focus on the more important things of this life and the next.