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)
This has always been a ‘between the eyes’ parable for me, and I hope it never loses its impact as I read it again and again. I have a barn problem like this mythical fellow: the theology of storing things for another day. His (and my) first problem is failing to understand the first line of the story: “the ground … yielded an abundant harvest.” The ground did it, but rather than saying ‘thanks, ground’, he starts using the term “I” over and over again. If you think you did it you are susceptible to clutching it. His (and my) second problem is he wants to hoard it specifically so he can slack off. God didn’t make us for leisure, but for work. What if he kept just what he needed and gave the rest to the poor? It’s riskier personally — what will the ground yield next year? — but more genuinely human. Do you have barns full of stuff that say you are worshipping security and ease rather than offering God your gratitude, generosity and work? I do. “Rich toward God” means using what God has yielded so we have no need for foolish “barns.”
Lord I confess a lack of faith that leads me to hang onto stuff and take a false confidence in what I am storing up for my comfort. I want to spend what you’ve given me so you have room to give more. Amen.