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Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 12:13–34
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NRSV)
This parable is about greed and selfishness. It’s about one person triumphing over another person by hoarding and flaunting material “things.”
It’s a parable about sadness and pity. The sadness exists when those who “have” refuse to share with those without, and of those “without” who vilify those have. The pity of it all is when the possessions are used in determining one’s self-worth.
Therefore, self-worth is not in the acquisition of “things”’; it is in the demonstration of how we give value and life to those “things” as they leave our hands and are then distributed among those in our community.
God, may I continue sharing my abundance with others and accept with grace and humility those who are willing to share their abundance with me.
God, may I continue enjoying that which I have worked hard to acquire and understand that all that I have acquired is only for temporary enjoyment.
God, may I also understand that when the time presents itself to give to others, that I have the heart and strength to give without reservation and to receive from others with appreciation.
God, may I continue to discern that my self-worth is not predicated on the acquisition of my possessions, but by the abundance of my heart.
And, God, may I continue to have the strength to work for many more days in order to strengthen my legacy of giving to others whom I love and cherish.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Written by Beverly Washington, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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