Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Peace be with you!
Like most women, I love buying new clothes, especially dresses. When I try on a dress I really love, I tend to buy it in two or three different colors. This summer I have been gravitating towards tennis style dresses – light-weight, wrinkle-free, easy-to-clean, and stylish. I have one style of dress in four different colors. I have a bit of a greedy compulsion when it comes to shopping.
Jesus is speaking right to me when he answers the man from the crowd who said: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” (Luke 12:13b NRSV). Jesus answers the man, “Friend, who made me the mediator between you and your brother?” (Luke 12:14). Jesus’ mission is not to settle disputes among us, like a mother does with her children; rather, his mission is to bring us back into a relationship with God the Father. We are broken children who need to hear the good news.
However, Jesus goes on to warn both the crowd and us against greed, because our lives cannot be controlled by our possessions. When we live our lives according to what and how much we own, we allow ourselves to be in a state of discontent and disharmony with ourselves and with others. Possessions are wonderful when you have others to share them with. However, some people hoard their possessions and always have to buy the latest version of [whatever “it” is] they want, especially in the technology world. We see it every time Apple comes out with a new iPhone or iPad. People stand in lines for hours, even if their current iPhone or iPad works just fine, so they can have the “latest and greatest.”
Jesus tells the crowd a parable about a rich farmer whose crop comes in better than he expected, so he decides to tear down his barns to build bigger ones. This way, he will be able to store his whole crop and live out his days in the lap of luxury (Luke 12:17-19). And why not? The rich farmer has put in his time, his hard work, and his resources, and now he can relax, eat, drink, and be merry. People should be able to enjoy the benefits of their hard work, right?
That is what the world tells us, yet God expects more of us. Possessions are not all there is to life. God says to the rich farmer, “You fool! If you die tonight, who will enjoy the crop you have saved for yourself?” (Luke 12:20). When you die, you cannot take any of the stuff – [whatever “it” is] – with you. All of our stuff belongs in the world, even the stuff God gives us, because everything we need is already in heaven.
[Whatever “it” is] we save and collect does not make us rich according to God (Luke 12:21). We do not impress God with how well we save our [whatever “it” is]. God calls us to be humble communities that share the gifts and talents he gives us with the world, even with those who do not know him. We are called to embody his forgiveness, love, and grace and to share it with those in our communities and those beyond our communities. God gives us what we need to take care of each other and ourselves – not to hoard it. What God gives each of us belongs to the community, not to just one individual.
I admit I have a lot of clothes, especially dresses, and maybe bit of a hoarder. I do make it a point to go through my closest every six months and donate the clothes I no longer wear. A few of my friends are around the same size as me, and I will give them the items that I think they would enjoy.
Living according to God’s will involves sharing the blessings he gives us with the whole community. Blessings are not for one individual alone but for everyone in the community.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the humble communities which we are a part of. Help us to share the blessings you entrust us with others in our communities. Remind us to be humble citizens of the world so that we can go out and share the good news of your blessings. Thank you for the many blessings you give us. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant located here.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. How are you greedy?
2. How do you share the blessings God entrusts you with?