Luke 12:13-21, which is sometimes called the Parable of the Rich Fool, warns us against material prosperity’s false sense of security. Lately we’ve been having some pretty big storms out in our neck of the woods in Gilbert. One particular storm hit with no notice bringing torrential rain and high winds. In a moment, huge 30-year-old trees were toppling on people’s houses and cars. There was absolutely nothing to do, except watch the trash cans blown by the wind race each other down the street and wait for the storm to pass. Stuff can always be taken away. Treasures can be depleted with a dip in the market caused by real or imagined fears and speculation about the future. So long as those things remain the center of our lives we will live in a constant tension between lusting after more and being terrified of losing what we have. That’s really no way to live.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”
What matters to God? The gospel values are treasures that increase as they are given. Forgiveness. Understanding. Love. The more you spend, the more you have.