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What Are Your Barns Full Of?

July 28, 2010

Judy Stark just sent along the reflection below, which came out of a conversation in the Gospel Reflections group–which meets at 7 am, every Tuesday, to read and discuss the Gospel lesson for the upcoming Sunday. (Please come–there’s no homework, no prep needed, and there’s free coffee!)

Our lessons for this coming Sunday, Aug. 1, have a lot to do with generosity and abundance and the way we use the gifts we’re given. In the Gospel reading from Luke, a rich farmer plans to tear down his barns and storehouses and build even bigger ones, fill them with his bumper crops, then sit back, relax, and eat, drink and be merry. He’s got it made!

One commentator observes that this man is worshiping at the Unholy Trinity of “Me, Myself and I”: It’s all about him, his needs, his cushy future.

At the Gospel Reflections group this Tuesday, we spent some time discussing the notion of greed. Is it just about money? Or about fame, talent, recognition, brains … what are you greedy for?

We also talked about the concept of “enough.” No one ever has enough. No matter how much money we make, we could always use just a little more. We said that when we were earning a quarter of  what we do now …  and what we earn today is still not enough.

Jesus doesn’t begrudge anyone material success. Back in Biblical times, abundance was seen as a sign of God’s favor. We all work hard for our money, and if we’re blessed with financial success, it’s okay to buy an iPad or an iPhone. (Hey, we all want them.)  Jesus cautions: Just don’t think you’re buying your way into heaven. It’s not about dying with the most toys. The most fulfilling way to live your life now doesn’t depend on one of those exclusive American Express black cards.

You may have read recently about an Atlanta family that sold its huge home and gave half the proceeds to support two villages in Ghana. As the father of the family said: “Everybody has too much of something.” What do we have “too much” of? Maybe not houses or money, but shoes? books? clothes? toys? time?

In the parable in Luke, God tells the rich farmer he will die that night, and then who will get all the goodies he has stashed away in his barns? “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” What would it look like for you to be rich toward God? What are your barns full of?

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