If you’ve been by PLC’s Connect Kiosk recently you’ve seen our display of “barn” art, piggy banks (Thanks, Thrivent!), and a beautiful, large nature scene painted by our Alpha Administrator Dana Kloo. Each piece is meant to challenge us to go deeper in our thinking about the Holy Habit of “Stewardship.” Did you know that Jesus had more to say about money than prayer? Did you know our first assignment in the Garden of Eden was to care for the earth? That’s how important good stewardship is!!
In last week’s blog, I set the scene for the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21). A younger son in the crowd listening to Jesus is unhappy because he’s been excluded from the family inheritance. He wants Jesus to intervene in his favor. Instead, Jesus addresses the deeper issue of greed by telling the story of a rich fool.
Now “fool” is one of those words we would rather not have applied to us, isn’t it? Technically defined, it’s “a person with little or no judgement, common sense or wisdom; a silly or stupid person.” And the man in Jesus’ parable certainly fits the bill. I mean, who in their right mind tears down perfectly good barns to build bigger ones (Luke 12:18)? Oh, that’s right! People do that with houses all the time, don’t they? Especially if they have plenty of money and there’s a beautiful view or some other desirable commodity they want.
But Jesus knows that the fool he’s telling us about is just plain greedy. And he feels entitled – a trait I’ve been reading quite a bit about lately, especially as it pertains to the millennial generation! The fool says to himself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” It’s an attitude that, to be blunt, ticks off God. And he responds with this scathing indictment: “This very night your life will be demanded from you.” Woe!!
It’s never a good thing to make God mad, you know? But when Jesus ends his lesson saying, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God,” it’s not to frighten us. It’s meant to make us think, to ask ourselves: Am I being rich toward God? What does that look like?
Most of us have been incredibly blessed, haven’t we? Some of us have even been able to ‘build bigger barns’ to hold all that we’ve acquired. And some of us have thankfully and cheerfully downsized! But always, in all things, we need to guard our hearts and watch our motives concerning how we feel about our possessions. Jesus followed his parable about the rich fool with this simple statement: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 15:34). It’s something worth thinking about, isn’t it?
Next week Luke tells us about a generous widow…stay tuned!