Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gospel According To Luke

Over the past couple Sunday's the Gospel readings at Liturgy have come from the Book of Luke and have been chock full of content. Last week was the familiar story of The Good Samaritan ( Luke 10:25-37).This well-known parable will get it's own post shortly.

Today's reading was from Luke 12: 16-21.

16And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God

What I find fascinating about this passage is that it is so universal in it's application. In this particular parable we are dealing with a rich man who is enjoying the fruits of his labor and is doing nothing "wrong'' per se. He's not a bad man-- at least as far as we can tell. In fact he is being prudent in that he is building bigger storage facilities for his goods. I think the message here is that he is totally focused on his worldly existence and is busy making plans for his future, yet his life is about to end that very night and he is woefully unprepared for that. When I think about it this story in a nutshell is about all of us. In some cases we are making business plans. In other situations we are making Thanksgiving and Christmas plans.We are all about planning our future and we spend a lot of time involved in this planning. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of that kind of stuff. It's just that the emphasis is totally misplaced and that emphasis --the eat, drink and be merry and the storing up of our earthly goods is what so preoccupies much of our existence in present day America. We are the rich man in the story, we just don't want to admit it.

It's also interesting to look at the 3 verses preceding this parable for some context:

13And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
14And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
15And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth

I believe the wisdom proclaimed in verse 15 will become more and more evident as we work our way through the economic mess we find ourselves in. Maybe some good will come out of our travails after all.

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