Revelations from the Word

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To become rich near to God

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Then one from the crowd said to Him, Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. But He said to him, Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you? And He said to them, Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life [zoe] does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops? So he said, I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul [psuche], Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich next to [eis] God" (Luke 12:13-21 Interlinear).

Jesus recalled the purpose of His coming to earth, "God did not send His Son into the world to judge it, but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17) and "As the Father has life [zoe] in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life [zoe] in Himself" (John 5:26) so that "Whoever believes in Him has eternal life [zoe]" (John 3:15). Although Jesus has received authority to judge (John 5:27), it is the Word itself that He has announced, which will judge on the last day (John 12:48). The life zoe is eternal life, that which opposes death. Our natural life, is the life bios of which Jesus spoke in relation to the poor widow who was putting all she needed into the offering, that is to say "All she had to live [bios] on" (Mark 12:44).

Through the parable of the rich man, Jesus also taught that, whatever the plans of men, it was God who decided the number of our days, and that it was He alone that we had to fear (Luke 12:5), for it was He also who breathed life into man so that he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). Jesus then said to His disciples, "The soul [psuche] is more than food" (Luke 12:23). Man considers the well-being of his soul, whereas Jesus considers our eternal well-being, at the same time taking care of our body and our soul through healing. Man puts his security in the reserves he makes for his well-being, but Jesus looks to imperishable eternal riches.

Jesus is not opposed to abundance since He said, ""I have come that the sheep might have life [zoe] and that they might have it in abundance" (John 10:10). But where man is thinking earthly abundance, Jesus is thinking heavenly abundance. The Greek word 'eis' means 'near to', 'beside', 'towards', 'in the middle of', 'in the presence of'. Life zoe is to know God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son (John 17:3). That is why Jesus tells us to come and become rich near to God for real treasure, true abundance, is spiritual: it is the fruit of our intimate relationship with God. Everything that comes out of that personal relationship will produce heavenly treasure, where our heart will be also (Luke 12:34). It is also what Jesus will say later to the rich young man, "There is still one thing lacking to you: give all that you have, distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, and follow Me" (Luke 18:22).