Submitted by Jan on Tue, 26/07/2016 – 13:46
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 12th after Pentecost, Proper 13
Year C (2015-2016)
Bible Book: Luke
Verse: 13 – 21
My father often delights in telling this story from my childhood: It was just after my second birthday when I had a friend over for a play date. For my birthday, my father bought me those little plastic tools that toddlers typically play with. All went well and the two of us played peacefully on the carpet. The peace abruptly ended when she decided to take a tool that I wanted. My solution to the situation was simple – I took the plastic hammer and knocked her over the head! Yelling “myne” (Afrikaans for “mine”) as I did so!
Today we can joke and laugh about my behaviour on that day, but I can assure you my parents were far from proud! This is was not how they taught me. Where does such behaviour come from? The word “mine”, according to an educational psychologist friend of ours, will in most cases be one of the first twenty words of a child as they learn to speak. It is even considered a milestone in a baby’s personality development. It seems that we are born with this inherent desire to want things for ourselves.
In today’s devotional, we see that Jesus warns us against one of our most natural desires – A warning against all forms of greed. His reason for this warning is rather simple: Our lives are NOT dependent on the abundance of our belongings. In the Gospels we often find Jesus warning against the love of money (Matthew 6:24; Matthew 19:23-24). The Apostle Paul even goes so far as to call it the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:6-10).
Jesus tells this parable of a rich man who built barns so that he could gather all his earthly belongings therein. He decided to retire early, enjoy his life and praised himself for what he had accomplished. From the outside he seems to be living the dream! God however, was not impressed! In fact he does something not often seen in scripture. He sums up his whole being in two words: “You fool!” How sad that God can summarise the life of this man, who had the world at his feet, with these two words? I personally find it sad and rather pathetic that we are so easily impressed by the earthly possessions (often bought by debt) of others. I find it equally depressing that we measure ourselves against other’s (often perceived) wealth.
See God is not impressed by these earthly things that so easily impress us. I do however believe that God takes great joy when we are not owned by our belongings or our bank accounts. I believe with my whole heart that God rejoices when we are sensitive to those suffering around us. Whether it is a co-worker who has a family member in hospital, a beggar on the street corner, a single mom working two jobs to make ends meet, a child in your class who gets abused, a person living with HIV, cancer or any other illness, a family living in a zinc constructed house in somebody’s yard, or a father begging you for any work just to feed his family.
As a financial planner I encourage people every day to be good stewards of the money that they have been blessed with and plan carefully for their retirement. It will however, be catastrophic if your whole planning in this life was only focused on material things. Careful! If you want to go through this life only enriching yourself, without thinking about others, you will – like the rich fool -enter eternity with empty hands.
To think about: How can I bless others with what I have been blessed with?
Written by: Rev Wynand du Preez
Author: du Preez W (Rev)