C. L. Morton
Leavenworth, Kansas

"And he said unto them, Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). One of the major problems of this or any other generation is that of materialism - the attitude that a person's life DOES consist of the abundance of material things which he possesses. Having stated the fallacy of this attitude, Jesus went further by emphasizing it with the illustration of the rich fool, whose attitude was Soul, Thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, he merry (Lk. 12:19). But his material prosperity was to no avail, for "God said unto him, Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Lk. 12:20-21).

The Lord's application of this parable is that everyone who lays up treasures for himself at the expense of his spiritual life is just as big a fool as the man in the parable.

This same lesson is stressed repeatedly in the Scriptures. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also" (Matt. 6:19-21). The lesson is unmistakably clear and evident: a person's life will be centered around the place where his treasures are. There can be no divided loyalty between materialism and spirituality, because "no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other" (Matt. 6 :24). For this reason, Jesus has admonished us to place our treasures in heaven rather than on earth, so that our lives here on this earth may be void of the fatal plague of materialism.

This rich fool of the Lord's parable in Luke 12 is one of the best illustrations to be found of a materialistic, stingy, grasping life. At the opposite extreme, one of the best examples of the right kind of life is that of Moses. "By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked unto the recompense of reward" (Heb. 11:24-26). Every person must make the decision between treasures on earth or treasures in heaven. The rich fool made the wrong decision with disastrous results; Moses made the correct decision because he looked for the superior reward.

In our own generation, as perhaps in all others, it is customary to determine the worth of an individual bv the value of his material prosperity. Such is deceptive and unfortunate. A person's worth is determined only by values that are eternal and spiritual in nature, and such are determined by his obedience to God. The richest people in this world are those who follow the example of Moses in accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of this world. That person who does not obey the gospel and live faithfully as a child of God is poor indeed, though he possesses all the treasures of this present world. Where are your riches - on earth, or in heaven?

Truth Magazine III:12, p. 1
September 1959