“Then someone called from the crowd, ‘Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?’ Then he said, ‘Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.’” Luke 12:13-15
Isn’t it fascinating we don’t really know what the disciples looked like?
We don’t know what size shoe Jesus wore, or whether Peter was stocky or thin. We don’t know if Simon the Zealot had a man-bun, or if Bartholomew was fashionably dressed. There are rare hints in Scripture. For example, we know James the son of Alpheus (James the lesser) was short, but only because it differentiates him from the other disciple named James.
This is what we do know, however. Simon the Zealot was loyal. Bartholomew was recognized for his good character. John was beloved by Jesus. Judas Iscariot fell prey to greed. Andrew was a dependable, behind-the-scenes kind of guy. While there is little in the Bible about what these followers wore or looked like, their character is clear.
What’s inside is important to God, and we see that affirmed in the story where today’s key verse is found. Jesus and the disciples are traveling, when a guy stops Jesus and asks Him to step in and demand that his brother share a portion of an inheritance. Jesus hears something in the man’s request that troubles Him. In direct response to the man’s question, He starts a conversation about craving what you don’t have.
Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who has a fertile farm. His barns are full. Yet instead of being content, he tears down the old barns and builds bigger, better barns to store more grain to acquire even more wealth.
Jesus warns His listeners that these things aren’t what fulfill us, but rather we find our “riches” in our relationship with God (verse 20).
It’s a lesson Jesus taught often. He helped lead His disciples away from worrying over things that didn’t have lasting significance, to center on things that did.
So often we are measured in this culture by things that have little eternal value, like how in shape (or out-of-shape) we are, the size of our home, the prestige of our job, our cute shoes or wardrobe.
Can I be honest? Sometimes I measure myself by those same standards, forgetting there’s much more to life than that.
But I know that as a woman who’s loved by Jesus, I am faith-filled and my faith shines a light in darkness.
I am strong because of Him, and that sings of bravery in harder times.
I can be generous in His name, and that makes a difference in the world.
I am loved well by our Heavenly Father, which allows me to love others.
Who we are on the inside is what lasts for eternity.
There’s nothing wrong with being physically fit, owning a pair of cute shoes or even building a bigger barn. It’s just that these are temporary, external characteristics that God never intended to be our main pursuit. These things were never meant to define us or become our greatest concern or worry.
Instead, what’s on our insides is the story that will have eternal impact. That’s what will be written in the hearts of those who know us.
It’s what will be remembered.
Jesus led the disciples to a life of “more.”
He leads you and me down the same path — to a life well-lived from the inside out.
Dear Jesus, I know that beauty begins with my heart, but sometimes that’s not where I put my energy or thoughts. Give me wisdom to end the pursuit of things that have little eternal value. Help me run after what changes me from the inside out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
1 Peter 3:3-4, “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be fit or owning a home where people come in and feel welcome. The trap is comparing ourselves with others or what they have, then allowing discontent or greed to define who we are. Write down one characteristic you possess that writes an eternal story in the heart of others.