What Does Luke 12:15 Mean?

Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

Luke 12:15(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

How easy it is for a believer to take his eyes off the spiritual to concentrate on the temporal. How easy it is to look away from heavenly things and direct our attentions to earthly pursuits. The child of God is to have an eternal perspective, and the hope of a reward laid up for us in heaven should be a far greater incentive for us to live a life that is pleasing to the Father than the accumulation of things that will soon pass away in this world. But too often, we are pulled into political pursuits, worldly ways, and covetous attitudes. But the things of the world are passing away, while the things of heaven are eternal.

Jesus made it very clear that His kingdom is not of this world system which thrives on fleshly desires, carnal lusts, the pursuit of pleasure, worldly ways, and climbing up the staircase of success. Believers are advised to be wise and to take care of our lives - our souls. We are encouraged to be on our guard against all covetousness, for our life does not consist of the abundance of our possessions. We would be wise to hold the things of this world very lightly and not to hanker after the accumulation of many things, for they are like the frothy foam carried on the waves of the sea which swiftly disperses within a few moments of time.

The key issue in guarding against covetousness is the protection of our life, and the word 'LIFE' is often interchanged in the Scriptures with the word 'SOUL'. Jesus said, "He who gains his life/soul on earth will lose his life/soul in heaven, and he who loses his life/soul while here on earth will gain his life/soul in Christ's eternal, heavenly kingdom." If we spend our earthly life focussing on the things of the world and coveting the things that we do not have, we are wasting our life, we are wasting our soul, for we are living like the unsaved and Paul calls this a carnal Christian life. For whatever we gain in this life through covetous carnality, results in loss in the next, but those who guard their present life against covetousness by living a spiritual life that is pleasing to the Lord, are laying up treasures in the next.

For a short time, we will experience many hardships, trials, and tribulations, and for a time it will appear that the godly are flourishing while the children of God are in great deprivation. But in the world to come, the life we lose here will be rewarded with much gain in the next. And if we gain much in this world through covetous behaviour, we will forfeit much in the next. How important, therefore, to take care of our life and to be on our guard against all covetousness, for our life does not consist of the abundance of our possessions, but of the treasure we have stored up in heaven. 

My Prayer

Loving Father, keep me from covetousness, carnal behaviour, and envying the wicked who seem to have everything in this world, while so many of Your children often seem to be so deprived. Help me to realise how short this life is and the futility of living for earthly possessions. Help me to live my life in spirit and truth so that by dying to self, I live for Christ and to His praise and glory, which will produce a great reward in heaven. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

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