Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 25: Year 2
AM Psalms 40 and 54; PM Psalm 51;
Ecclesiasticus 34:1to 8 and 18to22; Revelation 13:1to10; Luke 12:13-31:
“Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” (Luke 12: 18 and 19)
This Gospel of Luke is not written against the rich. Often the rich in this Gospel contribute to the poor. But Luke’s Gospel does get to the heart and soul of where those with wealth do their works.
In this reading for today the rich landowner never considers those less fortunate than himself; that he might follow the biblical mandate to not glean your field completely, thus leaving something for the needy. He just figures out a way to keep more for himself. He even talks to his soul, his direct connection to God. His soul, nor ours, needs wealth. Our souls just want us to gravitate towards the kingdom of God.
Jesus gives several examples of how fruitless it is to not be rich towards God. Jesus warns that life in nature is fed better, and dressed better, than humans who try to do this for themselves at the neglect of those who have next to nothing. The man’s own soul would not be in agreement with his intentions to hoard his blessings. And in fact, his soul will be taken back by God that day.
Jesus tells him (and us), “Do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well, (Luke 12: 29 to 31). This reminds me of the hymn, “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.” It is a beautiful hymn from our “Lift Every Voice and Sing” Hymnal.
Jesus informs us that our Heavenly Father knows we need food and provisions in order to live healthy lives. While we need these things they should not become idols that replace God in our lives. As citizens of heaven, temporarily visiting earth, we should never forget whose we are.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John