That's not fair!"
In a past NPC mediation for a non-profit organization, fairness was an issue – fairness over who received what and how much. What does Jesus think of this type of conflict? I do not know the circumstances behind the recording of the siblings' protest in Luke 12:13. But whatever the circumstances, Jesus seems less concerned about fairness and more concerned about motives. While the protesting sibling wants arbitration, Jesus refuses to be the judge or arbiter. In fact, He says to the listening crowd including both siblings, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (v.15).
Jesus then teaches on different kinds of greed:
Greed that accumulates and “stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (v.21).
Greed that enumerates and worries about “life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear” (v.22).
Greed that consecrates and defines “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v.34).
Greed that procrastinates and “knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants” (v.47).
Granted, sometimes conflict is about injustice and fairness, but sometimes we must consider the greed factor. So, is it really about fairness or is it about one’s own greed – concerned with amassing wealth, consumed with taking inventories, compulsive over the hoard, or continually postponing what God desires?
Proverbs 11:25 teaches, “A generous man will prosper: he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Simply, generosity promotes redemptive community, while greed destroys relationships.