“Relax, Eat, Drink, and be Merry”
July 31, 2022
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you are like me, you are probably wondering why the farmer is called a fool in our Gospel Reading this morning. In fact, most of us would argue that the farmer was being wise and responsible with his resources.
After all, his farming enterprise was thriving, and any farmer knows that they need to put aside some of their profits when the harvest is good to help them survive when the harvest is not so good. I am afraid that this year crops are not going to be as good as they have been in the past due to the limited amount of rain we have had here in the Concho Valley and throughout the western United States.
And so many farmers will need to rely on insurance and what they have put aside to help them get through this year. And that is why, at first glance, our reading today does not make sense. The farmer’s land had produced so abundantly that he did not have enough storage space to house all the grain.
So, what does the farmer do? The farmer said to himself “I will, do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.” And then, he told himself, he would have enough set aside for the future and then he could enjoy his golden years.
That is what we are supposed to do, isn’t it? Today financial advisors tell us that we should have at least three months of living expenses saved up in the bank so we can be prepared for any emergency that might fall upon us. Layoffs, illness, drought, inflation, a recession, and a whole host of other events can put us in serious trouble if we are not prepared financially.
The farmer in the parable did exactly what financial planners tell us to do today. He built for himself a future where he could enjoy the fruits of his labor. And that is a good thing. Right? And the answer is NO.
The parable concludes with a message from God in which God says to the famer “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” Luke 12:20
Why does God call the farmer a fool? First off, the farmer in the parable is not a fool because he is rich, or because he has saved for the future. He is a fool because he appears to live only for himself, and because he believes that he can secure his life and his future with his abundant possessions.
Notice that when the rich farmer talks in the parable, he talks only to himself. He says things such as “What shall I do, for I have no place to store my crops.” And “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and all my goods.” And he tells his soul “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
The man has what we call today “Self-love.” He is thinking only of himself. Even though the land has produced abundantly, he expressed no gratitude to God for his good fortune, and no gratitude to the workers who had helped him plant and harvest his bumper crops.
Even as the rich farmer possessed more grain and goods in storage than he could ever hope to use, he seemed to have had no thought of sharing it with others. And he certainly did not have any idea of what God might require of him.
And he did not understand the fact that “You can’t take the land or the possessions with you when you kick the bucket.” Why??? Because the land that we declare to be our own, and the goods that we for a time possess do not belong to us.
So, what should he have done? The rich farmer should have shared his blessings with others. Did you know that the more we share, the happier we become? And this should not surprise us because God tells us to go and be a blessing to others.
And this includes sharing our wealth and our possessions. But it also includes sharing our smiles, embraces, pleasant words, our experiences, and our lives with people around us. We can even share tasks and responsibilities to make our lives better because that is how God expects us to participate in His Redeeming Activity.
As a 14th century theologian by the name of Meister Eckhart once said “Only by allowing God to claim and possess us will life become a passionate and joyful celebration. The ‘One Thing’ that we need is not a thing at all. It is God.”“So, when we detach from things, God joyfully comes to fill or possess us with His Spirit. And suddenly the world is full of life once more.”
Our lives and our possessions are not our own. The earth and all that is upon the earth is maintained and preserved by the hand of God. The blessing that God bestows upon us is meant to be shared and enjoyed by all. And so, when we rebel against this truth and claim everything for ourselves, we are actually rebelling against God’s will for our lives.
Therefore, let us listen to Jesus when He tells us “Take care! Be on guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15
Let us pray: Almighty God, judge of us all, you have placed into our hands the wealth we call our own. Through your Spirit, give us wisdom, that our possessions may not be a curse, but a means of blessing in our lives. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.