Jesus told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops! I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” – Luke 12:16-19 (NRSV)
Hoarding and counting your loot are natural human tendencies. Just ask the money-drunk guy in the parable or a sugar-happy child right after trick-or-treating.
Take my kids for example. One year my then 8- and 10-year-old brought home their Halloween booty and divided it up according to type, size, and color. There’s nothing too unusual about that. But they took it to the next level and created pie charts and graphs for a full visual accounting of their sugary spoils.
While their teachers might have been impressed, their father was momentarily horrified, and not just because they denied me my standard cut of Reese’s peanut butter cups. They were misers in the making, little salivating Scrooges, completely disinterested in sharing with their father who wants nothing more than to give them everything he has.
It leads me to wonder: what if the rich guy in the parable had known about God’s plan to give him the kin-dom? What if he knew that his time on earth was just a mere sliver in the eternally secure life planned for him in God? Would things have been any different?
Save me, gracious and giving God, from being rich in things and poor in soul.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.