The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 12:16-21
Each and every week I cut past the personal stories and funny jokes to get to the heart of the lesson and to make sure that I do exactly what the Lord has commanded me to do, to preach the Word. My goal is always to remind you that there is a God who is watching us and holding us accountable for our choices, our words, our actions. My hope is that by being loving and firm with you now, you will be ready to one day meet the Judge who is great and terrible.
We live very comfortable lives and in the midst of our comfort we sometimes begin to imagine or fantasize about our need for new and better stuff. We all do this. I do it and you do it. As the holidays approach we see that materialism, the desire to own more and more stuff, is at an all time high. Stores such as Walmart want to open at 6pm on Thanksgiving day to lure in the customers! Shame on us if we go to these stores when we ought to stay home and allow the employees to stay home with their families. This culture of materialism is all around us so it is no surprise that as we work and make money we decide to find new ways to spend it. I have a 42 inch tv so next I begin to fantasize about a 46 or 55 inch tv. We do the same with cars, and homes and toys.
As all of this is going on, I wonder if we ever stop to think about why God put us on this earth? What purpose do we serve? Do we ever stop to think about how we might be a blessing to someone or to the Church through the extra money we receive? This is exactly what Our Lord Jesus Christ is talking about in today’s parable of the rich man who has so much money that he decides to build new barns to store all his grain and to rest and be merry.
The Lord tells us that God spoke to the man saying “‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” It is among the most awful descriptions that God could ever give to us….He called the man a fool. To be called a fool is hurtful. To be called a fool by God is to find out that you truly are one.
What would we say to the man who spent all his money on alcohol or gambling? We might call him a fool. He wasted the money instead of putting it to good use. In today’s parable the Lord Jesus tells us that the one who spends his money only on himself is the equivalent of the alcoholic or the gambler because he is just as selfish. The money sits in the bank account and you think it is safe. The money sits in the account making almost no interest and we sleep well at night. God looks at us and wonders why we take the money that is rightfully His and keep it for ourselves?
While it sits in the bank doing nothing it could be used in a number of ways to help others and the Church. It could be gaining heavenly interest at an amazing rate! It could be given to those who have need. It could be used to start education programs to help the disadvantaged. It could be used to start non-profit businesses that employ people who would otherwise be homeless or jobless. We could take our children to the mission field and show them the joy of serving the poor. Those are just a couple of ideas.
Here are a few more ways that our resources could be put to good use here in the church: We could install a proper audio system in the church, with speakers and microphones so that everyone could hear the services clearly. We could build a baptismal font. We could remove the steeple on top of the church and replace it with a cross and even a dome. We could pay off our mortgage. We could make sure that the church has enough in it’s humanitarian fund to help each and every person who ever has a need, whether they are friend or stranger. We could open a Christian school. We could fund missionaries to go oversees.
There are many things that are possible. I have no doubt in my mind that God would like us to do some of them. I don’t wonder whether we have the resources to make some of these possible. I wonder whether we have hearts that are on fire for God. Personally, I might be afraid to give too much to God. But I am even more afraid to hear the Lord call me a “fool”. Whatever I have given up for God is insignificant compared to what God gives me in return. We forget things that happen to us every day, God never forgets one thing that is done for His Church or His poor.
God has a purpose for you and for all that you’ve been given. When will you begin to trust God? I hope it is soon because tomorrow is not guaranteed to us. May the Lord see us as wise stewards of all the gifts that He has shared with us….and glory be to God forever AMEN.