Whilst we are unable to hold our Monday evening Bible Study group as normal, the Clergy are writing a Bible Study message each week. This will be posted here, or why not join our discussion on Facebook?
Monday 28th September 2020
Luke 12: 16 – 30
Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool; then challenges us not to worry about what we eat or wear. Now that is a challenge in these times when so many people have lost their jobs and their incomes have decreased or dried up and they have a family to feed. But firstly, the parable, as Jesus uses it to explain today’s reading is very telling: ‘....one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions’. But particularly in the Western world, this is exactly what life for some people is about – a bigger house, car, jewellery, clothes, holidays – just more and more ‘stuff’.
Then we have so much we have to de-clutter our houses (and people make a living telling us how to do it!) - we take things to the council recycling place; give away to charity; sell things, re-purpose them and generally get rid. A few generations ago this would have been unheard of.
But the ‘rich fool’ appears to be a wise and responsible person. He has done so well that he needs bigger barns to store his grain; then he will have enough to retire with. Isn’t this what we are encouraged to do? Isn’t it wise and responsible to save for the future? Well yes, but we also are encouraged to think about others. The rich man was concerned only about himself and no-one else. He expresses no gratitude towards God, and no thought of sharing his goods with others. His life belongs to God and God can take it back at any time. And he learns the hard way what the writer of Ecclesiastes had realised – that you ‘can’t take it with you’.
But as we have learned to our cost, no amount of wealth can protect people from the current pandemic. With no vaccine yet available, no-one can buy a ‘cure’. We are all in this together. Though we know that the virus (as most viruses) does spread more rapidly where there is poverty and crowded living conditions.
Jesus tells us in v 25 not to worry: ‘and can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?’ But this is not to deny that we should dismiss the fear and anxiety of those experiencing poverty. We are to be used as God’s instruments to care for his needy people. Worry is not part of God’s plan for us. We are to trust in him to provide. So if we can be worry-free, what do we do instead? Set a goal and accomplish it. Be part of God’s kingdom. As he provided for the mission of the 12, and the 72, so he will provide for us.
Earthly treasures give cause for worry, but heavenly treasures give no cause for concern. Our choice is to worry – or not worry and put our trust in God.
How can we guard ourselves from greed in a culture that promotes it?
Do we ever ask ourselves: how much is enough?
Three times Jesus says: ‘Do not worry. Do not be afraid. Do not be anxious’ (Luke 12: 222, 29, 32).Most people are currently worried and/or anxious due to the pandemic. Is it unreasonable to expect that we would not worry about it? Is it possible?
Lord, we pray for all those who are tempted by seeking power or status; or seeking security through material possessions; we pray for those whose appetite for wealth prolongs the poverty of others.
We ask to be content with enough to satisfy our needs; and enough to give to others in need. Help us to resist temptation. And help us to trust in you and not worry. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who was himself tempted. Amen