At church today, the Gospel was from Luke and shared a story that Jesus told to teach people about the foolishness of greed. A hardworking man became very wealthy, and accumulated much more than enough to cover his needs. In fact, he didn't have enough room to keep all of his things, so...did he give things away to help others? Nope. He decided to spend money to build bigger barns to hold all of his riches.
Jesus called the man a fool, and told him that he would die that night. The sermon helped us understand that at the end of our lives...the amount of "stuff" we have doesn't matter. Instead of judging ourselves on how many material things we surround ourselves with, we should focus on how much we give away...how much we serve...and help.
We should also take some time to ask ourselves if we're really using all of the talents we've been given, as well as making sure that we give thanks to God for all his gifts.
It made me think about all of the time and energy we tend to put into earning more, buying more, and wishing for more, instead of acknowledging and appreciating all that we already have.
It also made me thing about taking just a few minutes every day check in with myself and ask, "What can I give today"? Sometimes, it's just a matter of keeping your heart open and looking for opportunities. I read the church bulletin when we got home, and there was a little story about a community donation center/thrift store that had all of its inventory destroyed in a flood. The center asked for donations of clothing to help them replenish their supply. My family was able to help with several bags of extra things. It felt good to help, but it also made us think about other areas of our lives where we have "extra" that could be put to better use to help others.
Even deeper than that, I think the readings and Gospel encourage us to take a hard look at how we measure happiness in our lives. Are we rich fools? Or are we tuned into understanding that giving and serving are the riches of Heaven?
My prayer for you today is that your heart and mind are open to feeling the true abundance and strength you have at this very moment, no matter what kind of a house you live in, what kind of a car you drive, no matter how much money is in your bank account...and that you choose to use your abilities and wealth to take care of your family and our world.
THANK GOD FOR WHAT YOU HAVE. TRUST GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED.