Luke 12:15

ESV And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
NIV Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'
NASB But He said to them, 'Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one is affluent does his life consist of his possessions.'
CSB He then told them, "Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because one's life is not in the abundance of his possessions."
NLT Then he said, 'Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.'
KJV 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.

What does Luke 12:15 mean?

Jesus is teaching His disciples that they will need to give up the right to their lives, when a man from the large crowd interrupts. For some unspecified reason, the man feels the inheritance he and his brother have received is not being properly split. The man wants Jesus to tell his brother to cooperate. Jesus refuses to get involved. Settling selfish sibling squabbles is not on His agenda (Luke 12:1–14).

He will, however, help the man reorient his priorities. He tells a parable about a rich man who gathers a great harvest. The man's profit is so great he can store it and not have to work again for several years. Regardless of how much effort the man put into earning that harvest, his stewardship reveals his heart.

The man's problem is covetousness. More specifically, it's "avarice:" he wants more than he needs. Men are given wealth to serve God's kingdom, not to hoard for themselves. While it is appropriate to save and it is also appropriate to enjoy God's abundant provision with thanksgiving, this man is not submitting his wealth to godly purposes. He doesn't mention God at all in considering his wealth. He doesn't speak of sharing what he has, or giving it to the poor, or using it to bless his community. He thinks that having money is reward enough. But that very night, he dies. His earthly riches mean nothing when he is dead. He should have focused on his relationship with God, instead (Luke 12:16–21).

When Jesus is finished teaching His disciples, He will return and build on this message. As the kingdom of God nears, the crowd needs to make peace with those they have wronged or risk losing their money and their liberty (Luke 12:57–59). Even more so, they need to make peace with God by repenting of their sins before God's patience runs out (Luke 13:1–9). Reconciling with their neighbor will make their lives more pleasant; reconciling with God will give them eternal life in paradise. Neither pride nor worldly riches can compare.
What is the Gospel?
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