6 June 2013

Luke 12:16-21

“So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (v. 21)


In the preceding verses Christ offers several statements about how much each one of us means to God (eg "Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows (Luke 11:7)). Then suddenly someone in the crowd asks Jesus to act as arbitrator over his family affairs. Turning to the crowd Jesus speaks of the effect possessions can have on those who wrap themselves up in great wealth and how that then affects the nature of their relationship with God.

In our contemporary western world the acquisition of possessions is frequently perceived to be the ultimate goal to which we all strive, and will give us status, recognition and an identity. But with the kingdom of God, Christ tells us, the opposite is true.

So what can we draw out of this parable? If we value possessions we are not valuing our relationship with God for, in our human terminology, we will be seen as poor in God's kingdom. If we work hard at building up our possessions does that give us time to build up our relationship with God? Does this story imply that there will be apecking orderin God's kingdom and is that an accurate understanding of what the kingdom may be like? How much do/should we transfer from our human, earthly life experiences on to the divine?

So much of what we learn from the Gospel stories about Christ's intentions for us, tell us that earthly values are not kingdom values. But it is only by using human experiences that we can begin to get a feel for what heaven may be like.

Being a pauper in the kingdom of God does not feel too good to me!

To Ponder

  • How might we free ourselves from earthly concepts and develop a more Godly approach to the quality of our lives without losing what it is to be fully human, and fully alive?
  • How might we enable the super-rich to unpack their wrapped-up life that does not make us hypocritical?

Bible notes author

Margaret Sawyer

Margaret Sawyer has worked for the Methodist Connexional Team for ten years, first as connexional secretary for Women's Network and then as the Church's equality and diversity officer. She now works to support preaching and worship in her local circuit and district.