In the middle of a sermon, someone called out. “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Without skipping a beat, Jesus replied, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Then he turned to the crowd. “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness…” (Luke 12:13 – 15)
Was Jesus too harsh? The man may have had a legitimate case against his brother. But that wasn’t the point. His focus on the inheritance blinded him to the miracle of God standing right before him. Jesus’ teaching fell on deaf ears as he impatiently awaited an opportunity to air his grievance.
James may have had this scene in his mind when he wrote “what causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?…You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel…You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:1-3) Anything we place a premium on above God becomes an idol. And idols have a way of closing our hearts to everything else.
God cares more about what happens in us than what happens to us. He would rather allow our rights to be cheated than lose us eternally. And sometimes, that may mean exchanging a temporary inheritance for His eternal life giving words.
Read Matthew 6: 31-34 to see what Jesus had to say about our life priorities
Is there an unfulfilled desire in your life that is causing immense frustration? Is that frustration blocking your view of God? How can you arrange your priorities so that God is placed above all?