Daily Devotion 13 October 2020
Luke 12:15-21 ‘The Parable of the Rich Fool’
15 Jesus said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ 16 Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” 18 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. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” 20 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?” 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’
In the musical Fiddler on the Roof Topol dreams of wealth and an easy life: “I were a rich man…” he sings longingly. He would build a magnificent house with three staircases “one for going upstairs, one for coming down, and one more going nowhere, just for show” (I hope you can hear him as you read this!). Life for many today appears to mimic the attitude of both the farmer in our parable, and that of Topol: the more we have, the more we seem to want. In Old Testament times money and possessions were regarded as signs of God’s blessing and approval. Even the prophets seem to have thought this – just as long as wealth was acquired honestly – no short weights or measures. What a shock Jesus’ attitude to possessions must have been for his first listeners!
Reading between the lines of the gospels, Jesus had worked the village carpenter’s shop in Joseph’s absence. Joseph is not mentioned again after the visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve; supposing he had died, it would fall to Jesus as the eldest son to carry on the business, supporting the family. Surely his work would have been of the highest quality as he fashioned tables and chairs, yokes and ploughs for the people of Nazareth? Fair prices, too! I think his attitude would have been to charge each customer according to their circumstances, their ability to pay. Never would he have thought of charging as much as possible to ‘line his own pockets’, or ‘make a quick buck’. Jesus spoke against putting trust in material possessions; time and again he spoke of God’s generosity to all regardless of their standing in society.
God showers us with gifts daily; life itself, a beautiful world, music, art, friends to share our journey – his blessings are endless. Above all the offer of himself in Jesus, who promised a rich full life to those who accept him as Lord, and seek to serve and follow him. Not a painless or carefree life, but one walked in his abiding presence and strength, “that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full”
pray through these two verses from StF 250 by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895)
Jesus calls us from the worship of the vain world’s golden store
From each idol that would keep us, saying: “Christian, love me more.”
Jesus calls us! By your mercies, Saviour, may we hear your call,
give our hearts to your obedience, serve and love you best of all. Amen.
Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Hazel Blake.
Hymn words out of copyright.
Image freely available online.
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