“You are His treasure!” Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear 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, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Now a little exercise.  A though experiment. Imagine, that your reason is clouded, you can’t see or understand things clearly, you really struggle with discernment, therefore you are fooled and deceived into doing things that are harmful for you.

You are led to act in a way that robs you of joy that you may otherwise experience, that robs you of satisfaction, meaning, perhaps even relationships, friendships, community, and so on. And… you are totally unaware that this is happening. 

You are exposed and vulnerable to those who want to harm you. Yes, this is what our sinfulness does to us. This is our state. We may not feel that way. Of course, we don’t feel that way! Remember… being totally unaware of this miserable situation.

The worst are our hidden sins, those we don’t know about, we don’t see them, we don’t notice that we are under their spell. And we can’t see, the smartest and most intellectually gifted can’t see them, unless the Word of God reveals them to us.

What a blessing it is, when we are made aware of these dark forces that keep us captives, when they are exposed to the light, for then we have our chance, with God’s help to see again, to become wise, to be free, to regain what was lost, to reunite where we were separated. What a blessing, indeed!

Ideally, this would happen every Sunday, every sermon, or… your pastor is failing in his responsibilities. Topic of our today’s meditation hopefully will deliver to us just this sort of blessings, helping us to see, what we may be unable to see. Because the finger of this parable of the Rich Fool is pointing at us.

Now, how would you answer this question? Where is your heart? Where is it? To whom or to what does it belong? A few verses later Jesus gives His answer, simple and pointy as always: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Or, otherwise put – follow the money, see what you do with it and you will know where your heart truly is.

Luke provides for us the context of this little exchange that we heard today in our reading. Crowds were gathered around Jesus and He was teaching how precious we are to God our Father, how much He cares for us, that we don’t need to fear.

He was telling how important it is to keep the true faith and to confess it boldly, and promising that the Holy Spirit Himself will help us. Beautiful teaching of eternal significance, the words of eternal life from the Lord of life Himself. But then…

Suddenly someone in the crowd said: “Teacher, tell my brother to give me my money!” What… Why do we come to Jesus? What do we expect from Him? Do we come to listen to Him, to be transformed and enriched, to have our old Adam, our old selfish selves killed and to be made a new creation?

Or perhaps we came to ask Jesus to satisfy the wants and cravings of our old Adam? Why do we come – to humbly listen to what Jesus wants for us, to learn to obey Him, or to demand from Him what we want?

In response to that inappropriate question, Jesus tells this parable. In our Bibles it is called the parable of the Rich Fool. Don’t you find this surprising? Maybe it is by a mistake? A fool? Why a fool? Isn’t he the role model for all sensible people?

Besides, quite accomplished role model at that. Today he could easily be an inspirational speaker, sharing his success story and teaching others how to get out into early retirement. What was his story?

A rich guy, probably a clever businessman. He had done well, he was a high achiever, prosperous, and lucky on top of that. Now he had made it, he could retire early, enjoy his life.

Drive his luxury or vintage cars, travel around, feast and rejoice, perhaps attend some charity events to show everyone that he is a good bloke, as the financial side of his affairs was in a really healthy condition.

Why to call him a fool? Isn’t this what most people dream about? Don’t you want this? Honestly? Easy and prosperous life without worrying about money? Being able to devote your live to the pursuit of happiness and pleasures? The old Adam in me would delight finding myself in such situation. Bring it on! Today!

What Jesus said really spoils the party, kills all the fun and makes us feel bad. What most people hope for, dream about, toil for as a good and desirable life, Jesus calls it … death. That’s right.

If that is all you have, or all you value, or all you strive for, you are dead already, it is just that the hour of you physical and eternal death hasn’t arrived yet; and by the way, it may arrive this night.

What can we learn from this parable? “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this:

I will tear 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.”

Three quick points. First, loneliness. Community and conversations were everything is the Ancient Middle East. What about this man? With all his prosperity and lack, he didn’t not have anyone to talk to. He was alone.

How sad it is when you have good news, when something wonderful happens in your life, when your joy is about to overflow, you want to share it, but… there is no one to share it with. No one. How sad…

But this is one of the effects that we witness in our society as well; as we enjoy unprecedented prosperity, we also struggle with unprecedented levels of loneliness. It seems that our prosperity has eroded our ties with our fellow humans.  

Second, foolishness. How else can we call the situation when someone believes that the answer to our deep longings is found in having more, being richer, having greater barns? On the other hand, don’t we all believe it at least to some extent?

But if we only spend a few minutes reflecting, people usually come to the common-sense consensus that the most important things in our lives, those that are truly precious, are all immaterial things.

To know that our lives matter, to feel that our lives are meaningful, that we serve a higher purpose, that we belong and are welcomed and accepted by our fellow humans, that we can be a blessing to others, that our contribution transforms our community and helps others to flourish; all people know that it is more satisfying to give than to receive, but …  

Still, this rich man had put all the eggs in that one basket; let’s have more, more for me, more security. Double security. Which essentially meant less joy, less freedom, less meaning and less satisfaction as his whole focus was on himself. Foolishness.

Third, blindness. Even children know that we are not going to live forever. One day will be the last day of our lives here in this age. Yet, we have this built-in sense, that that is not it, there will be a continuation.

How blinded by our sin, greed, covetousness we need to be, to focus only on this life, only on this short time span, where we wither like grass. Yet, we read that that was the thinking of the rich fool: “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”

How many think the same way? How many of us believe the same lies; if only we have ample goods laid up for many years, then we can relax, eat, drink and pursue our ever-eluding happiness. But this very night your soul may be required from you.  

“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Dear Lord, help us against our blindness, help us against our foolishness, renew and restore us!

What if the Spirit of the Lord changed our hearts? What if instead of gathering for ourselves, and storing in our barns, and back accounts, and feeding insurance companies, and ever worrying about what will happen with our saving when the next crises come – what if we measured our lives in how much we have given?

This goes for both, us as individuals and as congregations? What if we competed in how much our generosity has benefited the body of Christ? How much we have contributed so that the Gospel can be shared with those who have never heard it locally and abroad? How much our God given treasures through us have enabled God’s messengers to build up the Church?

Imagine, how would that change our lives? Where is our heart? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” What benefit do we have if we have wealth stored to secure our future for many years, but are not rich toward God?!

Where is your heart? Do you know where Jesus’ heart is? Where His treasure is, there is His heart as well. Where is His treasure? You are His treasure. You. Each one of you. You are Jesus’ treasure and this is where His heart is – with you!

He had everything, literary everything. Except for one thing that mattered for Him the most. His greatest treasure. You. This is why He left everything, His divine glory, His divine splendour, He emptied Himself and become as one of us.

He didn’t ask: “Should I play it safe, I don’t want to overdo with my commitment to these people, who knows what may go wrong.” Jesus Christ, the Son of God went all in, He committed Himself, with all He is and all He has to pursue His greatest treasure, for that is where His heart was.

He didn’t hold back, and He was overjoyed even before He went to the cross, He was overjoyed for He knew that His sacrifice, whatever painful and unbearable it may be, will give Him what He desired the most – you, you love, your gratitude, your company, your fellowship already here and forever in His New Creation.

Are we afraid to appear unreasonable if we don’t store things for ourselves? Weird? Lacking common sense? Do we fear what may happen if we listen to Jesus and treat what He has given to us as His, where we are simply to act as His stewards?

That’s okay. I fear… I do. This is why Jesus gently speaks to us: “Fear not, my little flock, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

Consider the ravens: they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! Or consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass… how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! Your Father knows that you need; seek his kingdom first, and all these things will be added to you.”

We can’t change allegiances of our hearts. Especially if we are blinded and unaware of them. That is far beyond our capabilities. But our Triune God can, as He comes to you and sends His Spirit to renew our hearts.  

Remember! You are God’s treasure, He knows what you need, He has promised to provide for you. What may hold us back? What may blind us to the Father’s love? What may rob us of joy of giving, sharing, supporting? Our sin… nothing else.

But Jesus has taken care of that as well. If we are willing to let it go, He is willing to take it from us and give us new hearts. Let’s pray that neither our sin, nor covetousness, nor greed, nor stinginess may blind us and make us rich fools.

May the Word and Spirit of our God enlighten you and free you to be that beautiful and generous creature that our Lord created you to be, rich in good works. And may your heart find rest with the One who looks at you as His greatest treasure, with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s