Sunday, August 4, 2013

Vanities and Treasure Troves

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" And he 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." Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `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.' 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." Luke 12:13-21

Families can come apart over money and inheritance.We watched an Alec Guinness classic movie last night called "Kind Hearts and Coronets." It is the story of a young man whose mother married for love and family disowned her, and how he avenged her death by doing in all of the relatives that stood in his way to the title and money. A bit old fashioned and yet so very appropriate. How greed can make us do horrible things, and when we feel we are righteous, how we can get so carried away, even with our own families and friends.

Jesus is approached in order to settle a dispute over inheritance. He cautions the crowd about being ruled by possessions - money, land and power. Even among faithful people, folks who need to control the purse strings can choke out the goodness that has been done. Greed can be our fastest downfall. God is the giver of all that we have, and we often think we are responsible for our blessings and good fortune. When we hoard, we are unable to love, and when our possessions rule us, we cannot serve others. God invites us to put God and our neighbors first, as our finest gifts and what we hold fast to. May we not let our possessions rules us but rather open our hands to the world and share the magnificent abundance we have.

Today I ask God to help me focus on relationships rather than possessions. May no land, money or power stand in the way of our commitment to our neighbors. May we not hold the poor hostage by our selfishness, but share what we have, trusting in God for our every need today.
The Collect

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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