Jesus uses the parable of the rich fool today as a warning to anyone who “stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” As is also true of the parable of the good Samaritan, (Lk 10:29-37) this parable is a story within a story; Jesus tells it in response to a man who had come up to him and said, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me (v..13).”
What a lunkhead this guy was. Jesus’ reputation as a miracle worker, a prophet and a spiritual guide meant nothing to him. All he cared about was using Jesus to get some leverage in a dispute over wealth he was having with his brother. “If JESUS says I’m right,” he seemed to be thinking, “then my brother will have to fork over the cash!”
Sigh. Yet when I think about it, how often do we – OK, how often do I – make the same mistake. Simply recognizing I am in the presence of the living Christ and allowing the absolute Love of Christ flow through me is not good enough. I want more – something tangible that the world will recognize as proof that Jesus is on my side. I’m tempted to forsake the “treasure not made of gold” as St. Paul says for something more tangible – some kind of wordly success that others will recognize as a sign that I’ve made it. It’s that old Protestant work ethic run amok.
The more genuine our Faith becomes the less we need to worry about the things of this world. The more genuine our experience of God’s Love becomes, the less concerned we become whether or not God is on our side and the more concerned we become, as Abraham Lincoln said, that we are on God’s side.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
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