Two weeks ago, Martha approached Jesus to complain about her sister, “Tell her to help me.” Today, a man goes to Jesus to complain about his brother, “Tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” While both complaints are seemingly appeals for justice, Jesus refuses them. They are actually centered on selfishness rather than love. Jesus says, “it will not be taken from her,” and “take care to guard against all greed.”
The rich man in the parable says to himself, “You have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry,” but the God says, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you.” The rich man is about to come to face his judgment as a truly poor man—possessing no wealth “in what matters to God.”
Martha is corrected for being obsessed with her anxious, self-centered work. The Rich Man is condemned for aspiring to an easy life of leisure. We are called to avoid both errors as we work diligently with generous love to accrue the kind of riches that God esteems.