What does Luke 12:33 mean?
ESV: Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
NIV: Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
NASB: Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor does a moth destroy.
CSB: Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won't grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
NLT: Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.
KJV: Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
Verse Commentary:
This provides an extravagant, counter-intuitive correction to a jealous brother. A crowd surrounds Jesus and His disciples (Luke 12:1). While He is trying to teach His disciples, a man from the crowd calls out, telling Jesus to force his brother to divide the inheritance. The man may want what is legally his brother's. Jesus refuses, as settling family squabbles is not His mission. Instead, He tells a parable. A rich farmer harvests a bumper crop and builds larger barns to store it all. Just as he settles into several years of leisure, God takes his life (Luke 12:13–21).

Both the man in the crowd and the rich farmer value possessions to build their kingdom on the earth. Jesus explains that His followers need different priorities. They shouldn't even worry about whether they can get the bare minimum to survive—food and clothing. Such worry shows a lack of faith in the God who provides and a disoriented understanding of what is valuable. God knows what they need and can provide it—and He will provide whatever fits His plan for them (Luke 12:22–30).

What the disciples should seek is to be "rich toward God" (Luke 12:21), to seek His eternal kingdom—the kingdom God wants them to have (Luke 12:31–32). Earthly kingdoms are nothing. In fact, the disciples may as well sell everything they own and give to the poor—something that didn't seem to cross the mind of the rich farmer. If they seek God's kingdom, they will receive a far greater treasure in eternity, one that cannot be lost by theft or destruction or even death. Such a treasure will reveal that their desires and priorities are in the right place (Luke 12:34).
Verse Context:
Luke 12:22–34 records Jesus telling His disciples to lay down anxiety and trust God for physical needs. He has already told them to reject fame, fear of death, and reliance on riches (Luke 12:1–21). Later, He will tell them they may have to leave family, as well (Luke 12:49–53). Instead, they need to focus on the task that Jesus will give them (Luke 12:35–48), to build the church after His ascension. Matthew 6:25–34 covers the same teaching, although perhaps at a different time and place.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus teaches the disciples about proper priorities. This includes recognizing that God knows all things, even secrets. Believers should honor God more than they fear death, or than they worry about things like food and clothes. Christians are to remain ready for Christ's return, even as faith separates those who believe from those who do not. These ideas revolve around the central theme of verse 34: that a person's heart reflects what they value most.
Chapter Context:
Luke 12:1—13:9 compares the world with the kingdom of God. Jesus has condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Luke 11:14–54). He now instructs His disciples to reject the fame and security that Pharisees crave, and hold lightly to their lives, wealth, security, and even family. He then warns the crowd to be wise about their relationships with other people and with God. The next two units each include a miracle and teaching on God's kingdom and salvation (Luke 13:10—15:32). Then the final section in the "travelogue" repeats that three-unit pattern (Luke 16:1—19:27) before Jesus arrives in Jerusalem.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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