Luke 12:13–21 (NRSV)
Someone in the crowd said to him, “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.”
WE GATHER THIS FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, AWARE THIS VERY SEASON REPRESENTS THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST
NEW BEGINNING OF THE CHRISTIAN YEAR......APPRECIATING THE WILL OF GOD EVEN IN THESE DARK AND
SOMETIMES DESPERATE TIMES........ONE OF MY NEWEST DEVOTIONAL COMPANIONS FOR THIS FOUR SUNDAY
JOURNEY DEFINES ADVENT THIS WAY:
ADVENT IS FUNDAMENTALLY AND UNQUESTIONABLY A STORY OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS TO US IN AND
THROUGH THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST.
IT IS TOO GLORIOUS A STORY FOR US TO IMAGINE AND MORE
LAVISHLY EXTRAVAGANT THAN WE CAN BEGIN TO FATHOM.
THOUGH ADVENT IS AN INVITATION THAT
INVITES RESPONSE, ITS ARRIVAL IS ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT OF OUR ABILITY TO CONTROL OR CONTRIVE.
IN FACT, ADVENTUS, THE LATIN WORD FROM WHICH THIS GREAT SEASON RECEIVES ITS NAME, MEANS
IN MANY WAYS THIS IS A LENS THROUGH WHICH WE CAN READ THE STORY OF SCRIPTURE.
ENTIRE BIBLE IS FILLED WITH MOMENTS OF GOD’S ARRIVAL, GOD’S BREAKING IN TO THE STORY OF
CREATION AND BREATHING LIFE WHERE THERE IS DEATH, PEACE WHERE THERE IS CHAOS, AND HOPE....YES
HOPE BELOVEDS, WHERE THERE IS DESPAIR.
FOR ALL THE BEAUTY THIS NEW SEASON OF THE CHURCH YEAR BRINGS, ALL THE TWINKLING LIGHTS, &
BEAUTIFULLY DECORATED TREES, ALL THE SPECIAL MUSIC AND DELICIOUS TREATS TO EAT AND DRINK, FOR ALL
THE VARIETIES OF SEASONAL COLORS IN OUR CLOTHES AND THE SPECIAL WAYS STORES AND STREETS AND
HOMES SEEM TO SHINE IN STELLAR WAYS.......THEOLOGIAN JOHN PAVLOVITZ REMINDS US:
WHEN JESUS OFFERS THE PRAYER, “THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN
HEAVEN,” HE REMINDS US THAT AS WE WALK THE ROAD OF ADVENT THE INVITATION IS NOT TO ESCAPE THIS
PLACE TO AN ELEVATED HEAVENLY SANCTUARY SOMEWHERE; IT IS TO BRING HEAVEN DOWN.
MEANS “GOD WITH US.” IN OTHER WORDS IT IS JESUS COMING LOW.......COMING INTO OUR MIDST, EVEN
FROM THE HIGHEST HEAVENS.....AND THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR US WHO ARE HERE WITH OUR FEET ON THE
TODAY WE’LL SEEK TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HOW JESUS’ PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL KEEPS US ALL GROUNDED IN
THIS SPECIAL SEASON.......GROUNDED SO WE’RE READY TO RECEIVE JESUS’ OWN BLESSINGS, MAJESTIC MERCIES
AND HIS MOST MAGNIFICENT GRACE AS WE PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS......
JESUS’ LESSON ON GREED
IN OUR TEXT FROM ST.
LUKE THIS MORNING, A REASONABLE REQUEST IS PUT BEFORE JESUS
FROM A PERSON IN THE CROWD REGARDING THEIR INHERITANCE “TEACHER, THE PERSON ASKED, TELL MY
BROTHER TO DIVIDE THE FAMILY INHERITANCE WITH ME”... ....MY COLLEAGUE, NIVEEN SARRAS NOTED:
Fighting over inheritance is a common problem in all societies and cultures.
It stresses people out and
IT DID SO IN JESUS’ TIMES AND INHERITANCES STILL STRESSES PEOPLE OUT AND DIVIDES FAMILIES TODAY.....
AND PERHAPS THIS IS BECAUSE THE FICTIONAL CHARACTER, GORDON GEKKO FROM THE 1987 MOVIE, WALL
STREET WAS ONTO SOMETHING CLEAR ABOUT OUR CAPITALIST, WEALTH & AMERICAN DREAM SEEKING SOCIETY
WHEN HIS NOW FAMOUS SPEECH DECLARED BOLDLY:
"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."
GREED"captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.
Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge has marked the upward surge of
Gekko then compared the United States to a "malfunctioning corporation" that greed could still save.
JESUS’ LESSON TO ALL WHO WOULD TREASURE THIS PASSAGE IS DIFFERENT AND DEMANDS A FAITHFULNESS
BEYOND SOME OF OUR CURRENT AND LASTING CULTURAL INTERPRETATIONS...........JESUS WANTS US TO MAKE NO
ROOM FOR GREED, NO ROOM FOR INNER INCLINATIONS THAT WOULD EVEN LEAD TO IT.......JESUS TOLD THE
WHOLE CROWD ON THAT FATEFUL DAY:
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of
IT WOULD SEEM THIS SPIRITUAL LESSON WAS ONE TAKEN TO HEART BY ONE OF ENGLAND’S LONGEST
SERVING MATRIARCHS…YEARS BEFORE QUEEN ELIZABETH II SERVED 70 YEARS, QUEEN VICTORIA HAD LIVED AND
SERVED THE THRONE THE LONGEST FOR 63 YEARS....AND WITH THE VAST WEALTH, PROPERTIES AND MATERIAL
GOODS SHE HAD HOLD OF DURING HER LIFE.....SHE NONETHELESS WAS ONCE HEARD TO SAY:
Queen Victoria is said to have remarked: “Oh!
How I wish that the Lord would come during my lifetime.…
I should so love to lay my crown at His feet.”
WHEN WE COME INTO THE ADVENT SEASON WITH JESUS’ LESSON ON OUR HEARTS…REMAINING ON GUARD
AGAINST ALL KINDS OF GREED.......WE MAKE MORE ROOM BELOVEDS, FOR GRACE, GENEROSITY, GIVING AND
ONE WOMAN WHO TRANSFORMED THE SEASON OF ADVENT/CHRISTMAS FROM A SEASON WHERE SHE ONLY
THOUGHT OF GETTING AND THOUGHT LESS OF GIVING REVERSED THAT AND FOUND:
It’s the season of gift giving.
I love considering just the right gifts for neighbors, friends, and family.
The part of gift giving I enjoy has little to do with money and everything to do with expression.
Each type of
gift communicates something from the giver to the receiver:
A gift that fulfills a need says, “I notice and care about you.”
A gift that’s a complete surprise says, “I know what you need, even if you didn’t know you needed it.”
A gift that can be enjoyed for years to come says, “I want to bless you with future joy.”
A gift that comes with personal sacrifice says, “I love you more than I love myself.”
JESUS’ LESSON FROM THE PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL
AS THOUGH, JESUS’ WARNING AGAINST GREED WAS NOT ENOUGH....JESUS WENT ON TO PUNCTUATE THAT
LESSON WITH A PARABLE IN OUR TEXT FOR THE MORNING........LUKE 12:16-21
THE THREAT IN THE PARABLE IS THAT THE MAN WOULD BE BURIED ALIVE BY GOODS LAID UP FOR MANY YEARS
THE THREAT INCLUDED ALL THE WORRY AND ANXIETY THAT GOES WITH MANAGING MANY GOODS AND MUCH,
THE THREAT TO THE MAN WAS HE WAS LOSING TOUCH, IF HE HAD NOT ALREADY LOST TOUCH WITH HIS OWN
ONE COMMENTATOR ON THE TEXT NOTICED SOMETHING ELSE....THE RICH FARMER, MUST HAVE THOUGHT HE
COULD SOMEHOW SAVE HIMSELF… “I WILL DO THIS”.... “I WILL PULL DOWN MY BARNS”..... “I WILL BUILD AND