GLEANINGS..."A weekly Devotional" by Gbile Akanni
- 15th Feb., 2015
- 9th Feb,. 2015
- 26th Jan., 2015
TIMELY WARNING - 3
"A MAN ‘S REQUEST...A QUIET COVETOUSNESS!"
"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."
Luke 12:15 KJV
From the word “consist” the noun “constituent” is derived, and when you talk of constituent, you, are talking of the bits and pieces that you put together to make a whole.
Naturally, our own understanding is that there are certain things that make a good life. There are certain things that make one to say a man is comfortable. If any one comes now and congratulates you and says, “Thank God you have made it”, what are the parameters? Normally, he must have looked at your house, your car, your children and your job opportunity. He must have looked at your name, your position, your connection. When he put all these constituents together, he arrives at the conclusion that you are not a drop out. By what parameters therefore have men or even you drawn the current conclusion you presently hold about yourself?
If people are going to give honor to any man, they do so base on these constituents. So every man was born, initiated or taught according to the world principles to gather material things: clothes, money, houses, degrees, and all kinds of award. When you put these together it is what makes a man great in the world’s perspective. Yet, Jesus said, Beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consist not in the abundance of things which he possesses.
So what is covetousness?
According to Jesus, covetousness is not just the desire to have what does not belong to you. But a desire to have and to hold what belongs to you, but which you do not need today. Covetousness is a quiet confidence in what a man can put together to forestall tomorrow. Covetousness is a quiet desire to possess today, all which tomorrow will need. Covetousness is a desire to keep something that is not actually a necessity today, for next year. Covetousness is a desire to possess tomorrow, today.
Jesus said, take heed, as if to say, be careful, something dangerous is looming ahead of you. Beware of covetousness! It seems as if the people that were hearing Jesus were saying, “What do you mean? What is covetousness in this man’s request?” Even you that is going through this now, what is your heart saying? What are the queries that your heart is already quietly posting to the Master’s stand point and definition of covetousness here?
Jesus wanting to illustrate it for our simple minds to understand, said,
“The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully.”
It is surely not a sin for somebody to plant and to work hard and to produce plentifully. No one desires to make a planting or an investment and does not plan to reap plentifully. Who would want to invest and would not want to have something good come out of it? The ground of that rich man brought forth plentifully. Note with me how the Bible puts it (particularly in the King James Version): the ground not the land. If it were just the land, it would have been easier to think may be the man was a farmer. But Jesus was talking of the ground. That ground in our case could be a business. That ground could be your intelligence, your job, your connection or your contact that produces contract. The ground of a certain rich man produced plentifully. I could be that certain man today. It could be you! What is that ground in your life that is presently bringing forth plentifully? What is your intelligence, job, position, connection, contact, opportunities producing for you right now?!
“And he thought within himself…”
What this man did here was not strange. You may get a contract for example, with a promise that in two weeks’ time your payment will be ready. Then you would start thinking: “what will I do? When I go and pick that cheque of ten million which is just my take away, what do I do? Should I buy a house in London? Should I change my car? What do I do?”
Such thoughts usually come quietly and deep in your heart at night; you just suddenly wake up and start smiling. If your wife asks, what happened? You would say, “I am just happy. The struggle of ten years is going to end tomorrow.” And as you are talking you’ll say, “I just got a mail that our partners in U.S. have got through and they are sending that thing. It is going to land here very soon and you know what that mean. That is in hard currency.” If you don’t have money you may not understand what I am talking about here. Wait until some money begins to roll into your hand; then you will have great difficulty, on how to spend it. It is because some people could not think well on how to spend it, you see them being foolish.
So, the ground of this man brought forth plentifully and he thought within himself. Please note that… “He thought within himself.” This is it. You don’t think it out because you are afraid. If you talk aloud now and say that ten million is coming, before you know it, some thieves are knocking at your door demanding for the money. So you don’t say it aloud.
Many rich people don’t even eat well because of fear. Ask them how things are and they will tell you that there’s no money; we are still looking up. But they are thinking within, “What do I do? Should I build an underground?” They would call an architect to bring them one of their best designs, an edifice, and the best in town.
Let’s not think that the Lord is speaking here to someone else. Allow this mirror of the word of God to reflect back to us our own lives. You may not be stingingly rich, but, are you free from covetousness in the light of what Jesus is saying here? What are your plans over the plentiful that your ground has brought forth? What you are acquiring and accumulating with these proceeds from the ground of your life, are they making you rich towards God?
Dear Lord, your word admonishes me that if riches increase I should not set my heart upon them (Psalms 62:10), teach me therefore to take heed to myself and beware of this inconspicuous pit fall where many have ended their pilgrim journey and their carcasses littered this side of eternity. Give me light that I may know the constituents of a man’s life that matters before you.
“LORD HELP ME JUDGE MYSELF EACH DAY
TO WALK THIS NEW AND LIVING WAY
I SEEK THY GRACE WITH ALL MY HEART
TO BE MADE PURE JUST AS THOU ART.
TIMELY WARNING - 2
"A MAN ‘S REQUEST...AN ISSUE FOR ME TO TAKE HEED!"
"And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me."
Luke 12:13 KJV
Jesus’ answer to this man’s simple request did not appear to me as if He was merely advising him. He did not speak in a manner that would make us think He was just making a comment. Much more so, when He went ahead to say, “Take heed.”
What is the meaning of “take heed”? It means “be careful.” Unless there is a danger, you don’t use the word, take heed. If someone is reversing his car and is about to run into another vehicle, people will shout “take care!” Then he will march on the brake. So I wonder what is dangerous in this man’s request that Jesus met him with a very sharp warning: “Take heed!” What is dangerous in someone collecting his father’s inheritance that made Jesus Christ to meet this man with a very serious warning?
"Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
Luke 12:15 KJV
What is covetousness in the thing that the man asked? My own traditional understanding of covetousness is, desiring what does not belong to you. This man was not asking for what does not belong to him. He was asking for his legitimate right. It was an inheritance. Inheritance is your right. It belongs to you. Nobody should cheat you out of it.
An inheritance is something that belongs to someone, by right; nobody should cheat him or her out of it. When Ahab confronted Naboth and said, “Naboth, give me your father’s land.” Naboth said, “How can I give you my father’s heritage? God forbid it that I should give you the inheritance of my father.” Only a useless, irresponsible person will allow his father’s heritage to pass off without seeking to possess it, because an inheritance is not only for your life time. It is for your children and your grand and great grandchildren.
This is my own understanding. However, when I realized that my understanding clashes and conflicts with that of my master, it made me to seek to understand what His definition of covetousness is. What I discovered bothers my mind and kept me thinking that the Lord Jesus is speaking to me, from this scripture, that there is a danger, a pit into which I may fall without knowing.
The question then is, could a simple, innocent looking request, coming from my heart as a need, be but a thing to treat with a sharp and pungent warning such as “TAKE HEED?!” Oh, how I need light in my heart to see and a discerning Spirit to know how easily deceivable a man’s heart is. No wonder why the scripture has it that:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9 KJV
This calls for earnest fervent prayer, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The eyes of our understanding being enlightened; that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints is. For this man’s request that has become a warning for me to take heed arose from a desire to receive the portion of inheritance due him. Yet, this seems far from the real inheritance of the saints in Christ Jesus. Else there would not have been a need for this warning from the Master. Everywhere this warning comes, “Take heed”, it is always to forestall a fall.
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
1Corinthians 10:12 KJV
Now that it has to do with what looks like a legitimate need, how much heed I need then to take.
Moreover, only one man made the request but Jesus’ response addressed all,
“And He said unto them, Take heed…”
The matter is therefore beyond the exclusive problem of one man. It spans beyond one generation. In fact, it relate not only to issues of this nature but such like. Anybody, at any time and in whatever generation that choose to neglect and take this warning for granted will no doubt fall into this pit even before he knows it.
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
Matthew 7:24-27 KJV
We have a choice here to make!
TIMELY WARNING - 1
"A MAN ‘S REQUEST...A WARNING FOR ME!"
The way the Lord Jesus Christ responded to one man’s request in the scriptures has raised very serious issues for me as a person. I have had to ask several questions, but as I study again and again, I find that Jesus knew what He was doing and He never makes mistakes. There is no statement that the Lord Jesus Christ makes unadvisedly, or carelessly. When He says something, He says it with eternity in view. Just as this one.
"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Luke 12:16-21 KJV
People normally came to Jesus with different purposes and I don’t think this man should be blame because any man who came to Jesus, with any need had his need met, no matter what the need was.
When the blind man came to Jesus, He said, “What do you want me to do for you?” The man said, “I want to see,” and Jesus gave him sight. When the ten lepers met Jesus and pleaded for mercy, they received their healing. When the woman with the issue of blood came into the congregation and decided that if she could touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, all her twelve years issue of blood would finish, she came and touched the hem of His garment and was healed.
But this particular man’s problem was not leprosy, he was not sick. The problem which he had was legitimate to bring to Jesus. After all, Jesus says, “ask anything that you will and I will do it.” So I do not think that his request was wrong. His late father left a lot of inheritance for them. He must have written a will but this man’s elder brother refused to release what belong to him. Years must have passed but the situation remained the same.
Others could have gone to witch doctors to look for something to injure the elder brother and get the inheritance; but this man did not do that. He went to Jesus. Some others could have gone to a prophet or prophetess. I wish you know why some people go to white garment or spiritist churches. It is not necessary that they are sick. Some of them go there for help maybe because somebody is sitting on their father’s land which belong to them; and when they requested saying, “Look, this is our father’s land. Look at the beacon”, the man says, “Go and do your worst! If you don’t take time, we will bury you here.” So such a person runs for help anywhere he could get it.
This man said, “I have Jesus, I will take my problem to Him. I will meet Jesus over the matter.” Luckily for him Jesus was coming to town. He got himself ready and said, “Let me meet Jesus over this matter. I will tell Him, because the hearts of Kings are in the hands of the Lord. There is nobody God cannot control. God will speak to my elder brother.” The man you cannot handle, the Yoruba proverb says, you could send God to him.
This is what this man decided to do. He came and said, “Master, speak to my brother. I know you are the One who speaks to a man and he obeys.” God could go and wake a man in the night and say, “What are you doing sitting on the inheritance that belongs to your brother?” And he will wake up and do something about it.
When you take a case to court and the judges are bribed, you may not get justice. This man took the matter to Jesus, and that was where I was confused and it set me searching the scriptures because, I expected Jesus to always defend the defenseless. He will always fight for the lonely man. He will always stand up and fight for the underprivileged. So, I expected Jesus to have said, “Okay, I will speak to your brother.” But to my surprise, the Lord Jesus Christ raised a very serious question which rather hit my heart with a serious note of warning and left me wondering why Jesus handled this man’s matter this way.
"And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?"
Luke 12:14 KJV
It was as if Jesus was saying: “Who told you that what I came to give you, the treasure I came to administer to you was this kind of thing? Who made me judge and a divider over you?”
I so much wished that Jesus had kept quiet on that, I would have said, may be the man made his request at a wrong time. I would have relaxed and prayed to God, to teach me how to make my request at the right time, at the right place and in the right manner. But the Lord went forward and said more than what the man asked. Those are the issues burning my heart, which, you may also need to think about.
What are my requests? How will Jesus react to them? Are they looking so legitimate to me, but frightening to the Lord? Please dear Lord, give me light, as I wait on you over this matter; for:
"Sometimes what seems right is really a road to death."
Proverbs 16:25 – CEV
- Clergy Refresher Conference(CLEREC) 2015 -
Theme: "The Effective Minister"
Date: Monday 4th to Friday 8th May, 2015
Venue: Bethany Resort, Peace House Camp, Gboko.
NOTE: This Conference is strictly for the mainline (orthodox) denominations listed in the form. Those not belonging to the listed denominations will not be allowed to participate in the conference. Please call: 08036133629, 08037139774 for clarification if need be.
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1. "Raising Agents of Transformation"
2. "Becoming Like Jesus" (Reprint)
Copies are available at Peace House Bookshops nationwide.
- New editions of our Journals -
"Livingseed - Vol. 19 No. 1: Sustaining A Progressive Pursuit of God"
"More than Rubbies - Vol. 13 No. 1: The Architect, The Builder and The Building"
are out. Copies available at Peace House Bookshops nationwide.
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Bethany Resort (Peace House Camp) offers you the serene Retreat ATMOSPHERE for Refreshing, Rekindling and personal Revival You can book for group as well as personal usage.