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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Today’s Reading | Luke 12:13-21

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.” (NRSV)

For me, this is a hard parable. Society wants us to be the farmer in Jesus’ story. Work hard, make good decisions, get a bigger barn to store your wealth, and spend your waning years relaxing and being merry. But Jesus says this is “foolish.” The farmer’s problems don’t seem to be that he had an abundant crop, but that he was not rich toward God. So what does that mean?

It seems clear I don’t have to be rich to be rich toward God. Jesus could well have told the man that he would arbitrate the case, then direct the man to give his newfound money to God, but instead Jesus seems to be asking us to find what blessings we have, then redirect them back to God.

But what does it mean for me? How might the farmer have wisely used his harvest? By not laying out a plan for the farmer, perhaps Jesus is reminding us, once again, that little will help us more than to simply trust God.

Omniscient God, I take too much guidance from the ways of the world. Guide me to share my time, talent, and treasure in ways that serve you. Even when the world perceives such gifts as foolish, grant me the serenity to know such gifts are wise. Please help me share with those that need you when I am strong, and let me trust in those around me when I am weak. Amen.

Written by Bill Patterson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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