The Gospel according to Luke (12:13-21)
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”
REFLECTION: ‘I don’t care how much money you have or what level of notoriety you’ve achieved, you can’t take any of it with you because “There isn’t any U-Haul parking in heaven”. The recent Powerball paid out estimated $1.765 billion dollars! Now, I make this statement all the time and it amazes me with the response that I get. I say, instead of paying one person the prize money; why don’t we divide the prize money to get several winners. It’s better to win something and the odds of winning would drastically change. For instance, if you divided the $1.765 billion by $1 million then you would have over 1000 winners that just won a million. Now, here’s the interesting part, I get a lot of folks that would prefer to hope for the grand payout. Now I don’t know about you, but I can do a lot with a million dollars.
Material possessions can be very seductive. In today’s world, we are enticed on every front to accumulate wealth, possessions, and status, but today Jesus reminds us that when we die, our wealth, our possessions, and our status will not matter. The only criterion we will be judged on is whether we have worked to accumulate the riches only God can give. Today may be a good day to ask ourselves: Who and what is most important in my life? Is it money, status, possessions, esteem? Or is it the people that I love or the many individuals who are in need? Do I strive to make a difference in our world by my love, care, and generosity? Do I freely share the many gifts that God has given me?
Jesus refused to act as “judge and arbitrator” in this case because it was clear to Him that the person making the request was struggling with greed. Jesus was far more concerned about this person’s interior attachments than He was about the inheritance being properly shared. Earthly justice means very little from the perspective of eternity. This may be hard for many to understand and accept. Doesn’t justice demand fairness? Not if the desire to be treated fairly is based on some sin such as greed. In that case, it is far better for the soul to be cheated out of their inheritance than it is to receive their fair share. In fact, if a person does struggle with greed, one of the best things for their soul might be to be cheated out of their own possessions. This will only be understood when we see that spiritual riches are infinitely greater than material riches.
Which would you rather be, rich with love from friends and family where you laugh, embrace, and be open to much more love? Or, rich with material things which could possibly bring false love only because of your possessions? Look at them honestly.
ACTION OF THE DAY: Take a 5-10 minute break today from whatever you are doing. Just sit there, shut everything off around you and ask God this question. After asking the question, just listen for Gods answer. Question: Lord, what is it that you need me to do today?