Scripture: Luke 12:13-31
Key verses: (20-21) 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?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.
Reflection: You can’t take it with you! At first glance, that is the message of Jesus’ parable of the rich fool. The land of a rich man produced abundantly and he decided to build larger barns to store his crops so he can kick back and relax with his wealth. Then in the parable God speaks to the rich man. (God doesn’t usually appear in Jesus’ parables as a named, speaking character!). At the conclusion of the story, Jesus offers a summary truth “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Jesus isn’t simply saying “You can’t take it with you!” He is calling us to use our resources with spiritual wisdom to be “rich” toward God. He is teaching us that life isn’t about accumulating possessions (or assets in our estate).
When I read this parable, I think about grieving families who face the challenge of writing an obituary about a loved one. In the midst of their own grief, they reflect on the life and legacy of the one they have lost. Do they write about business success? Do they share about extensive travel around the world or about a love for a favorite sports’ team? Do they include special hobbies or humorous quirks?
As a pastor, I hope they will find a richness toward God as they think back on their memories of their loved one. Perhaps it was dedicated service to those in need. Perhaps it was generosity for the work of God’s kingdom through the church. Perhaps it was mentoring younger disciples in faithfulness. What are you doing with your treasures of time and energy and money? Are you making choices now that make you rich toward God?
Prayer: O God, the world rewards those who accumulate treasure. Forgive me when I store up treasure for myself and my family but do not honor you with my treasure. Forgive me when I act like an owner rather than a steward of the resources you have entrusted to me. Show me what it means to be rich toward you. 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].