March 20, 2019
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”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.”
When we pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,” we must ask, “What is mercy?” Jesus died on the cross for our sins so we could have eternal life? Yes, that’s mercy, but mercy is far more expansive. I like the way Paul put it in his letter to the Romans:
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10.
The entire life of the eternal Son of God is the mercy of God. His conception, birth, life, words, teaching, healing, signs, miracles, suffering, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and return: all the mercy of God.
This warning yesterday to “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which his hypocrisy,” is a merciful word from God. Jesus knows where all the land mines are buried along the pathway of human life. He knows all the temptations, pitfalls and problems and he mercifully teaches us how to steer clear of such disasters. This prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,” prepares us to recognize mercy when it appears and to respond with humility. It’s a way of saying to God, unless you show me your mercy by directing my path I have no hope of finding my way. This “Jesus Prayer,” as it has been called down through the ages, attunes our hearts and minds to “listen to Him.” We get another warning today:
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
If ever there were a warning for our age, particularly in our North American context, it is this one. “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Life consists in the possession of abundance. There are two kinds of people: abundance people and scarcity people. An abundance person is possessed by God. A greedy person is possessed by scarcity.
The story Jesus tells today teaches us that no matter how much a scarcity person can amass, it will never be enough. For an abundance person, no matter how little they have, there is always more than enough. Many wealthy people are ironically scarcity people. They keep adding more because they can never have enough. Many poor people are ironically abundance people. It’s why when people visit parts of the developing world they often come back talking about how the people they encountered had very little and yet they were unbelievably generous and extraordinarily happy.
Whoever is possessed by God is in possession of abundance. The great antidote to greed is generosity. In the Kingdom of God, the more you give, the more you possess. So wherever in life you feel as though you may not have enough—give more of that away. It will surprise you. It will lead to the abundant life.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a son/daughter.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a saint.
How about it—abundance person or scarcity person—where do you trend? What is your next step?
For the Awakening,