Just then someone spoke up from the crowd and said, “Master, you should tell my older brother that he has to divide the family inheritance and give me my fair share!” Jesus answered, “My friend, you can’t expect me to help you with this. It’s not my business to settle arguments between you and your brother – that’s yours to settle.” Speaking to the people, Jesus continued, “Be alert and guard your heart from greed and always wishing for what you don’t have. For your life can never be measured by the amount of things you possess.” (Luke 12:13-15, The Passion Translation)

We often read this story from the perspective of the brothers or the people in the crowd. This time, let’s take a look at it from Jesus’s perspective. In this section of Luke, Jesus is on his long journey to Jerusalem where he will be crucified. He has just spoken a number of “woes” against the Pharisees and other religious leaders because of their hypocrisy. And here in chapter 12, Jesus is encouraging his followers to remain faithful and not to fear or worry about what those religious authorities might do to them.

In the midst of all this, someone comes to Jesus with this strange request to mediate a dispute about their family inheritance. The request is strange to our ears, but it was typical in that time for rabbis like Jesus to weigh in on disputes like this.

Watch how Jesus responds, though: “It’s not my business to settle arguments between you and your brother.”

Did you catch that? “It’s not my business.”

That is such a difficult yet important statement to be able to make! Jesus has such clarity about his purpose and mission. He recognizes the boundary of his calling, and he has the self-awareness to avoid stepping outside that boundary. He knows who he is and what he is about. He doesn’t dismiss the family argument as unimportant; it is significant and must be resolved. But it’s not on Jesus’s to-do list. He is not about managing family conflicts (in fact, see Luke 12:49-53 for more on that topic). Jesus is concerned with proclaiming the kingdom of God, demonstrating spiritual integrity, and handling material things in a healthy manner – especially for the well-being of the poor.

It’s not my business. I wonder how often we would benefit from remembering that statement in our own lives. How many times do we get involved in situations or conversations that just aren’t our business? Have you ever responded to someone’s Facebook post and then become involved in an unproductive argument? Have you ever gossiped about other people under the façade of “sharing prayer requests”? Have you ever become wrapped up in politics or conspiracy theories or get-rich-quick schemes? Have you ever been consumed by your own ego or self-interest, so much that it makes you unable to see the perspectives or concerns of other people? Are any of these things really your business?

What is your business, anyway? What are you about? Where are you going? What is essential to your journey?

What are some other things, important though they are, about which you can say, “that’s not my business”?

Keep in mind, though: just because you think something isn’t your business, that doesn’t mean you are correct to ignore it. A couple of chapters earlier in Luke’s gospel, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Remember the priest and the Levite who crossed the road in order to avoid having to deal with the half-dead robbery victim? They may have thought, “that poor man is not my business,” but they were very, very wrong. Taking care of him should have been their business.

Let’s make our business the same business that Jesus was about. Let’s stay focused and compassionate and dedicated to the way of Jesus and the kingdom of God. And let’s be brave enough to say, when necessary, and with gentleness and respect, “it’s not my business.”

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