What You Own is not Who You Are


S (Scripture): Luke 12:13 Then someone from the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But Jesus said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator between you two?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out and guard yourself from all types of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 He then told them a parable: “The land of a certain rich man produced an abundant crop, 17 so he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to myself, “You have plenty of goods stored up for many years; relax, eat, drink, celebrate!”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded back from you, but who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 So it is with the one who stores up riches for himself, but is not rich toward God.”

O (Observation):  This is one of those rare cases were Jesus gives us a certain theological point and then tells us a parable to illustrate that point.

Jesus warns this man (who wants a share of the inheritance) about letting greed get the better of him…that his abundance of goods should not distract him from the beauty and the joy of being “rich toward God.”

The drive for more crops shows how this person in the parable turns completely inward…letting the ego run wild.  Notice all of the first person pronouns?  

And what does the person in the parable have to show for all of his crops, once he dies?  Nothing.  He can’t take it with him.  

A (Application):  Just yesterday, I was driving to the church building and the car in front of me had a bumper sticker that said, “What you own is not who you are.”  How appropriate for this text.  

We tend to be very worried about the stuff we have and our status we inherit by owning that stuff.  Like, somehow, that stuff defines who we are.   

In baptism, however, we have our true identity marker that can never be erased.  Regardless of wealth, status, age, gender, sexual orientation, race, country of origin…all who are baptized in Christ are a new creation…and each can stand before God, whole.  

Being rich in God starts with being washed in the waters of baptism.  Then, we have faith practices that call to us:  daily prayer, weekly worship, developing relationships, service, reading the Bible, giving.  These are just some practices that allow us to be rich in God.   These practices take us outside of ourselves, and call us on to loving God and loving our neighbor.  

We are made new and we are called to practice living into this new reality through faith practices.  

May we yearn for being rich in God.  

P (Prayer):  Lord, we are washed and made new, every day.   Remind us of our call to follow you and to love our neighbor.   Amen.  

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