There are a lot of false teachings on salvation in the Church world. Let me list a few …
- Salvation by sacraments
- Salvation by good works
- Salvation by church membership
- Salvation by traditions
There are several main gospels that circulate that are not biblical …
- The gospel of salvation
- The Prosperity gospel
This latter one has spread from North America through most of the Church world in nations around the globe. It is simply a gospel based on greed. Jesus had something blunt to say on the topic of greed: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.”
Do you want to guess why Jesus began His discourse on greed in Luke 12:15-21 with a warning? He knew back then what we’re just beginning to discover: Greed can take up residence in the heart and live there for years, undetected. The unguarded heart is highly susceptible to this debilitating disease. It’s difficult to diagnose — especially to self-diagnose.
Jesus goes on to uncover what fuels all greed: “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” But doesn’t everyone know that? Do people really believe that their lives are equivalent to what they own? The answer is no and yes. No, not everyone knows that. And yes, there are people who believe that your life is pretty much the sum total of what you own. And many of us today are more prone to this belief than we might imagine.
From here, Jesus launches into a parable about a wealthy landowner whose property yielded a much larger crop than he expected or needed. His good fortune has left him with a dilemma: he has no place to store this bountiful harvest. He thinks, What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. In other words, What am I going to do with all my stuff that I have as a result of all my hard work? The landowner has no place to “store” his crops — that’s farmer talk for “save.” What he needs is a place to “hoard” his reserves.
In an agricultural society it would be immediately obvious that the abundance of this man’s harvest had little to do with his hard work; farmers are always at the mercy of factors over which they have no control. But the greedy man or woman doesn’t see the world that way — what comes their way does so because they earned it. And since the landowner believes he has earned this abundance, he never considers the notion that God might have had anything to do with it. And even if he’d credited this bounty as God’s blessing, it never crosses the landowner’s mind that the extra he has been blessed with is intended for anyone’s consumption but his own.
Clearly, God had provided this fellow with extra. The question he should be asking is, “Lord, what do you want me to do with the extra?”
But that is not how greedy people think. And to be honest, that’s not how I think either. What about you? When I come into a little extra, I think, Lucky me! Like the landowner in the parable, I can always come up with a plan for the extra. And I generally assume it’s meant for me. After all, I earned it; therefore, I deserve it. So I store it. Which is exactly what the landowner decides to do:
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ (Luke 12:18-19)
Bigger barns! What a great idea! That will solve everything; he’ll be set for life.
The landowner in this parable is suffering from BBS — Bigger Barn Syndrome. BBS is a malady common to those whose hearts are damaged by greed. People today have the same issue. Oh, it might be known by a different name but it is the same problem.
- Kids all grow up and move away from home and mom and dad build a new and bigger home (for when the grandchildren visit)
- It is the end of the year and major discounts are announced on this year’s model of car. And, although there is nothing wrong with your car – the smell of a new car is enticing.
- Your favourite j
- Jeans are on sale. Never mind your closet is full and you already have 8 pairs most of which you don’t wear – they are on sale!
- You can add your “but I need it” focus right here _________________________!
After declaring his intentions to build bigger barns, the landowner offers an explanation as to why he has chosen to pursue this course of action, Keep in mind: greed is always looking for something “good” to hide behind. For instance, this man has decided to build bigger barns to secure his future. Now he’ll have all he needs for ‘many years’ to come. Nothing wrong with that. Thanks to disciplined planning and opportunistic saving, his kids won’t have to take care of him in his old age.
If the story ended there … But it doesn’t.