From Luke 12, with some Unionist notes in italics -
And then, turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them, “Notice that, and be on your guard against covetousness in any shape or form.” Because of the usage of the Greek conjunction δὲ, the Phillips’ translation has chosen to make these next comments an aside “to the disciples.” And I like that. I like how we can see Jesus turning to His friends and saying, “Notice that”; how He is teaching them on the fly to discern between spirit and flesh… "For a man’s real life in no way depends upon the number of his possessions.” Now there’s a statement! Jesus literally takes our biggest societal demarcation off the table: “In no way” is our life defined by this definition we’re most forced to live under! (And just in case we’d think He’s speaking only in the context of the day He inhabited, He then gives this utterly applicable parable to pull out the rug again…)
Then he gave them a parable in these words, “Once upon a time a rich man’s farmland produced heavy crops. So he said to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have no room to store this harvest of mine?’” This is this man’s personal moment of decision. Out of his surplus, now what? He already possesses barns that handled previous crops that already allowed him to become a “rich man,” after all! Then he said, ‘I know what I’ll do. I’ll pull down my barns and build bigger ones where I can store all my grain and my goods and I can say to my soul, Soul, you have plenty of good things stored up there for years to come. Relax! Eat, drink and have a good time!’ So, to recap, this man has had a surplus, pauses to reflect on possible next actions and, lo and behold, lands on actions that are entirely self-directed. Perfect! So let’s see how a long-view self-serving financial mindset is received by His God… But God said to him, ‘You fool (Uh oh!) this very night you will be asked for your soul! (Wow!) Then, who is going to possess all that you have prepared?’” Probably not something our rich barn-building friend was considering when he’d made his plans! And that’s actually what’s so interesting in this parable: The man never did anything but “make plans,” did he? He doesn’t actually “pull down his barns and build bigger ones”; God speaks before he’d even have the chance! It’s the reality of His moment-to-moment use of this particular day that determines how he was viewed in this parable… “That is what happens to the man who hoards things for himself and is not rich where God is concerned.” Jesus puts us on our heels by roundly criticizing so much of our present system of personal financial insulation and bet-hedging against future scenarios. Then, as He loves to do, He’ll give us a heavenly juxtaposition. Now He’ll tell us exactly how He’d have us lives our lives with relation to our money and possessions. The next twelve verses are the totality of His financial principles for His followers:
And then he added to the disciples, “That is why I tell you, don’t worry about life, wondering what you are going to eat. And stop bothering about what clothes you will need. Life is much more important than food, and the body more important than clothes. Think of the ravens. They neither sow nor reap, and they have neither store nor barn, but God feeds them. And how much more valuable do you think you are than birds? Can any of you make himself an inch taller however much he worries about it? And if you can’t manage a little thing like this, why do you worry about anything else? Think of the wild flowers, and how they neither work nor weave. Yet I tell you that Solomon in all his glory was never arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass, which flowers in the field today and is burnt in the stove tomorrow, is he not much more likely to clothe you, you little-faiths? You must not set your heart on what you eat or drink, nor must you live in a state of anxiety. The whole heathen world is busy about getting food and drink, and your Father knows well enough that you need such things. No, set your heart on his kingdom, and your food and drink will come as a matter of course.”
Ah, Jesus. Please teach us to live these words today!