Scripture: Luke 12:13-31
Key verse: (21) So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.
Reflection: Sometimes I am asked how we choose the verses for these daily email devotions. We (the pastors who write them) use the daily lectionary for our verses. A lectionary is a listing of assigned readings. The daily lectionary has assigned Scripture readings for each day: psalms, an Old Testament passage, a Gospel passage, and another New Testament passage. Each writer can choose which one of the day’s passages to use as the basis for the devotion.
So today’s gospel passage is about Jesus challenging the crowd not to store up possessions for themselves. I read it and laugh because this Sunday in worship we celebrate our financial commitments made to God. What a great sense of humor God has when these “coincidences” appear!
In this passage Jesus tells a parable about a man who had an abundant harvest. The rich man talks to himself in the parable (this is the only parable in which a character talks only to himself and that might be a clue for us about what happens when we focus on riches and not relationships). He decides to pull down his barns and build bigger ones to store his crops. God speaks to the rich man, warning him that he is foolish because that very night he will die and his riches will be useless to him. This is also the only parable in which God appears as a character and interacts with someone directly. That might be another clue for us, cautioning us that concerns about money and possessions are so serious that God will intervene in the story.
As we prepare to give our gifts and make our pledges to God, this parable raises questions for me. Do I really need more, or do I just “want” more, and why do I want it? Am I accumulating for the sake of having more or because there is a godly purpose for my things? Am I returning a faithful portion to God (the Bible suggests 10%) or am I holding on to keep more than God intended for me? Am I rich towards God or am I storing up treasure that will one day be useless to me?
Prayer: Holy One, you have entrusted so much for me to manage. Sometimes I forget that it belongs to you. I can be greedy and selfish. Remind me that all that I have is yours and give me the trust I need to return to you a faithful portion. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].