Updated: Aug 9, 2022
"From the Pulpit" - July 31st, 2022 -
Reflections on the weekly texts from Pastor Greg at Living Lord Lutheran Church
13 Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus,] “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15A nd 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.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18T hen 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. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 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?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ.
Uh oh. Jesus is talking about wealth, riches, treasures...money, although indirectly. We find him in the gospel reading today being asked by someone in the crowd to tell his brother to divide the family inheritance with him. And then Jesus tells him a parable (as he so often does when asked difficult questions) - this time, the parable of the rich man. And how the rich man, whose crop has produced abundantly (thanks to God!) tears down his already large storage barns so that he could create space for more grain, and therefore more wealth.
But Jesus' response startles the hearers when he says that "this very night, your life is being demanded of you> And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" And then he says something really curious, "So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves, but are not rich toward God." Ouch.
What do you think the phrase "being rich toward God" might mean? We often think about God being rich toward us - showering God's blessings on us. But how do we "be rich toward God?" Maybe it means living a life of gratitude. Maybe it means living a life that shares our time, our talents and our treasures with others who may not be so rich in terms of material wealth. Maybe it means entrusting all that we have to God and God's care, unlike the wealthy man in our parable today, who cares not about anyone else's good fortunes except his own.
All of these things are pat of what I think it means to be rich toward God. As I'm writing this on Saturday morning, I can't even tell you how many commercial messages I've sat through on my TV watching the morning news and other programs. Each of these messages is another reminder of just how "poor" we are for not having bought the advertiser's products or services. We're reminded that the rich life is in storing up more "stuff" for ourselves - that new car; that new weight loss program; that new mattress, and more.
"All Things Bright & Beautiful"
"You Have Come to the Lakeshore" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKoRMIeVark
"Voices Raised to You"