Becoming Rich toward God: Asking the Right Question
By Deb Crowley of Charlotte, MI, USA
‘…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.” —Luke 12:20–21NRSV
Jesus told a parable about a rich man whose crops one year were so good he was overwhelmed with money! When he realized his good fortune, he began to ask, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then 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. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
God called the man foolish and declared that he would perish that very night. Then what would become of his “stuff”?
Jesus is not putting down hard work that gains profit. He teaches that good stewards multiply what they have earned in order to gain more—not to bury treasures, but multiply them. Saving for the future is proper stewardship.
The problem is living in a culture of I as possessions, talents, and time increase. Notice how many times the rich man used the word I. He did not consider sharing his overabundance with others whose crops may have failed, those without access to land to grow crops, or the widows or orphans. The lack of a generous spirit toward others was not “being rich toward God.”
Living in the culture of I does not bring joy or peace and is not God’s vision for creation. After all, God as creator makes increase possible. The rich man also forgot that death is a reality…and you can’t take “stuff” with you. There are no storage facilities in heaven!
Jesus says it’s not about greedily gathering more. When we become rich toward God, the first consideration of wealth, time, or talent is not I, but “Who is in need?” or “How can I share?” Can we do anything less in response to God who gave us the Son?
Prayer for Peace
Generous God, help us respond to the needs of others before we worry about how to store our “stuff.” We would not hide our love or our compassion. How much more valuable they are than our possessions. We would not hide nor hoard the peace of Christ.
Spiritual Practice: Advent—Peace
Pause amid this busy season and open yourself to be mindful of the source of your life-giving breath. Reflect on where that breath blows you. Pray it leads you to Pursue Peace on Earth. In this short time of reflection, close your eyes, close out the noise of the holiday crowds, and prepare yourself for the coming of the Messiah. If your mind wanders to the commercial clamor, allow God to pull you back to focus on Christ, the center of Christmas. Expose your soul to God’s signature and the writing of the covenant of Christ’s peace on your heart.
Today, God, I will find a creative way to share my “stuff.”