Are You Rich?
Chapters 11 and 12 in the Gospel of Luke might rightly be called parables of the snarky siblings. Last week we heard Martha complaining about her sister, this week we hear "someone in the crowd" complaining because his brother wouldn't share his inheritance. Makes me realize there truly is nothing new under the sun for sure. Human nature really doesn't change much does it?
Jesus goes on to tell a parable about a rich man who was happy with all his stuff and wanted to protect it well. That might seem pretty responsible to us. Surely we are to be good stewards of the gifts God has blessed us with.
I think the point of the story is that we sometimes forget who and what are the real gifts that we have been given. In the case of Sunday's parable, the man was more concerned about his harvested grain and other goods than about any other things in his life.
What are those other things? Relationships. God. Family. Friends. Care for our part of the world we live in. Being good and helpful to others. Laughter and love. Are these not the most important 'things' in life? If we are lucky enough to be well off, are we happy and free enough to share our blessings? I am so grateful for all the friends I know who are incredibly generous. They are such good examples to me of how I want to live.
Jesus ends the parable by having the voice of God say to the rich man: "You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you....what happens to all those things you thought so important?"
For very personal reasons this Gospel hits home with me particularly hard. Recently a man I was just coming to know as both family and friend, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. Those who love him most are beyond sad and lost. His passing is felt deeply by so many who knew him and were proud to be his friend.
In many ways, he was a rich man. He had just recently rebuilt a home for his retirement. It was to be a place of peace and joy for him. As he lay in his bed in this tranquil space, God called him home.
However, unlike the man in the parable, Gary was a man who was 'rich in what matters to God'. Gary was a man of faith, a man who adored his family and friends and shared his life and his blessings freely. I am honored to have known him for the short time I did.
I know with certitude that unlike the man in this weekend's Gospel who heard such sad words from God, I know, without a doubt, Gary was received with open arms, and the words we all long to hear: "Well done, good and faithful servant"!
So when I pray with this scripture this weekend, I ask Gary to help me be more generous with the gifts I've been given, and I hope to live a life, 'rich in what matters to God'. What about you? Are you rich?