Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘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 I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (NRSV)
What is happening in this Scripture?
The Parable of the Rich Fool comes up in the middle of Jesus teaching a crowd. If you haven’t read the full teaching, it stretches from Luke 12:1-13:9 and, as with all of Jesus’ teachings, contains a lot packed into a short span. In this section, Jesus highlights what is truly important in life. It starts when somebody wants Jesus to get their brother to split the inheritance. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to teach about true treasures. We hear Jesus talk about this throughout the Gospels, but there is something about the imagery that Jesus uses of storing up excess grain as earthly security that paints it in a different light.
What I’ve been reading:
I recently finished Five Means of Grace: Experience God’s Love in the Wesleyan Way by Elaine Heath. This was a short and easy read, but it gave me a lot to think about. The 5 Means of Grace refers to prayer, searching the Scriptures, the Lord’s Supper, fasting, and Christian conferencing (which is a fancy way of saying small groups that hold each other accountable and help each other grow in faith). I found her chapter on fasting particularly insightful. As we approach Lent and some of us consider giving something up for the season, she provided some nice background and theological basis for this practice. I will be thinking and praying a lot about this topic as we prepare Respite: An Ash Wednesday Experience and generally prepare ourselves for Lent.
A burger worth noting:
I know, I know, the Fort Worth burger tour is over and Fuego Burger is the undisputed champion. I am not looking to re-open an old challenge. BUT, I have to say – last week Berkeley and I were on vacation in the San Diego area and we ate at Burger Lounge. This burger would give Fuego and any other burger a run for its money. What was particularly interesting about this burger was the patty: somehow they kept it juicy and perfect, yet it had a nice little crust from the flat top grill it was prepared on (which may sound odd but believe me, it was amazing). If you’re in the San Diego area (or if they expand) and you are wondering if it’s worth a try, my answer is yes!
Another thought from Jesus’ lesson in Luke:
As I considered the full of Jesus’ lesson in Luke 12:1-13:9, a couple of verses stood out to me. Jesus is talking about the lilies of the field and reminding us about the uselessness of worrying. It strikes me that there is a lot of anxiety in our culture. Whether about politics, school, work, or the movement of an entire denomination, it seems that we can’t help but worry ourselves into circles. Jesus has this to say, “And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Luke 12:29-31). I think Jesus is reminding us to be present in what we are doing right here and now and to do so in a way that focuses on experiencing God’s loving kingdom instead of worrying about something in the future that we can’t control. So, whatever it is that is worrying your into circles, consider what would happen to those worries if we remind ourselves of Jesus’ urging that we continually strive for God’s kingdom instead of worrying needlessly?
A Quote Worth Pondering:
Another thought from Jesus’ teaching: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34).