Jesus often taught in parables, you know, telling a story with an underlining moral meaning. I love that He taught with stories because I think that is the simplest way to get people to listen to what you have to say. Almost everyone loves to hear a good story, one that might be funny or one that makes you stop and think for a moment. I want to share one such parable with you today.
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21, (New International Version or NIV).
At first glance I thought, yeah, sure, I get it. We are supposed to share what we have and not be greedy with our possessions. But then I began to read this more closely. In fact it was while my son was reading this passage this morning that it really hit me! The man in the parable sounds like a good business man who is looking out for his retirement fund and planning for his future in old age, so is Jesus against retirement? Many people my age are looking forward to their retirement if they haven’t retired already. Many have worked all their life and saved money for their retirement and have a list of things they want to do when they retire. Some want to travel and go places they have had no time to go while raising their families and working. Others want to sit back and relax, go fishing or read books or maybe just play with their grandkids. Yes, many look forward to retirement years as a time to slow down and enjoy life. Doesn’t the man who has been blessed with a good harvest seem to have a good idea to make larger barns to store more of the crop so that he won’t have to work so hard in future years? He just wants some down time, some fun time, perhaps time in the casinos of his day to live a little and enjoy his life more. After all he has been working hard for several years now to be as rich as the parable states that he is! Sounds like a good plan. But what does God think about that man’s plan?
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.
Why is his idea foolish? It must be or else God wouldn’t have called the man a fool. I think that this parable hits home with me because I have often been a person that lives in the hopes of the future rather than the blessings of the present. When times were tough in my younger years and my husband was in college I often comforted myself with the thought that times would be easier in a few years when his education was completed and he was able to make a good salary. I didn’t take the time to really enjoy the little blessings that were all around me, my children and their cute ways, my parents and their love, my grandparents and all that they meant to me, my sister and her family, my church family…so many blessings that I did not really acknowledge. I was too focused on the future to enjoy the present moments. My husband, on the other hand, was too focused on money and work and the gratification of both to enjoy his family as he probably should have and that no doubt played a part in why we are divorced today. You see where this is going? God wants us to acknowledge today and the blessings that He brings to us each day and not to focus only on the future.
So what blessings are you ignoring right now in your life? What blessings am I ignoring? Well, first and foremost I am truly enjoying the bright morning sunshine that is streaming through my living room window right now. That is a real blessing to me. It may be a small blessing but it is never-the-less a blessing from God that the sun rises every morning bringing us a new day. I am also enjoying my son who is in middle school. I love to talk to him and hear what he is doing or planning. I love that he loves snow and is looking forward to shoveling snow tonight when he gets home from school. Now to an old lady like me that is a real and honest and true blessing because I do not like to shovel snow! I see one of my geraniums has bloomed a pretty little white blossom and that is a blessing as well. Flowers are a reminder to me that God is in control of even the smallest details and makes them unique and beautiful and something I can enjoy. I hope that I never forget that lesson. I have many reminders of my children’s love around the room, the German cookies one gave me for Christmas, the delicious fruitcake one made me for Christmas, the photo Christmas card that one sent me for Christmas, and the thermos coffee mug my son gave me. Yes, these are reminders of the love my children have for me and that is most definitely a blessing. The good news is that these are but just a small portion of the countless blessings God has given to me. I am sure that if you take the time to look around your own life you will see many marvelous blessings as well.
I don’t really think we need to worry much about our retirement plans or even our retirement funds because God will take care of us if we let Him. I think of my parents who gave faithfully nearly all their life the tithe of ten percent to their church and then on top of that gave to various mission projects that they were interested in. They knew where their money came from and who blessed them with jobs and they acknowledged Him in every way daily. I was at their home one time when my Dad said to my Mom, “Where’s the checkbook? I need to write a check for the church offering.” My parents never made a big deal about the money they gave but it seems to me that they always had enough to share with others when a need arose. They were faithful in their giving to God and to anyone else who needed their help and often it was done without the person even knowing where the help came from. I love that and I try to model that to my son as well. God took good care of my parents all the days of their life on earth and when He called them home He was gracious to them as well. Now that was a real blessing for them and I have no doubt that when my time comes to leave this big blue planet God will be gracious to me as well. I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want God to call me a fool! I want to keep sharing with others rather than storing up for myself just as Jesus teaches us in this parable.
Until next time…Katherine