I have been reflecting recently on some of Jesus’ last words in the Parable of the Rich Fool–
Rich toward God.
He uses these words to indicate how the protagonist in the story was not living his life, right after calling him a fool! This man was storing up things for himself. He had been successful at his job and sought a way to hoard that success for himself. To keep his abundance he built storehouses and put all the excess there. This, apparently, is not what a life lived rich toward Godlooks like. But what is? Because I want to live my life that way and I want to avoid living in a way that would lead to being called a fool by the creator of the world!
In the verses that directly follow this parable I think Jesus offers us insight into what a life that is rich toward Goddoes and not include.
He tells his listeners not to worry about the everyday needs of their lives, but to seek his kingdom. He commands them to sell their possessions and give to the poor and then he says something that I think summarizes it all:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:34)
So often when it comes to money and possessionsthe things Jesus teaches are stunning in their simplicity. It’s not that we don’t understand the words but sometimes that we don’t know how to translate them into our world or, for me at least, how on earth to be obedient to such a radical calling.
Rich toward God.
Not worrying, letting go of possessions, giving Jesus my heart in a way that it is actually reflected in my budget, my schedule, my priorities. This is not Sunday Christianity. This is not easy living with a side of Jesus. This is not the kind of religion that wants you to look nice on the outside, present your smile to the world and sit by while suffering happens. No. A life that is rich toward God means something else entirely. It is real.
Rich toward God is taking what He has given you and giving it away. Rich toward God is focused not on my own needs but the needs around me. Rich toward God is a life that so recklessly reflects Jesus that anyone could look at my bank account and know what matters to me and it would be the same things that matter to God. Rich toward God is a calendar that prioritizes Kingdom work. Rich toward God is a church in action. A people that do not hoard their power, their resources, their gifts for themselves but pour them out again and again because we have no storehouses. Storehouses are foolish. That is not where treasure belongs when you are living rich toward God.
And the thing is I don’t think this storehouse free life is a one-time deal. I for one feel I am never free of the storehouse mindset. I think I am constantly starting construction and I need to be reminded – that is foolish! Live rich toward God instead. I am too often wanting to hold on to the things that I am not meant to hold on to, to store them up and I need to be reminded – live rich toward God. I find myself returning to that scarcity mindset that says I am responsible for it all, I put my trust in me and me alone and so I must control, I must build – let’s get started on those storehouses, maybe just one or two for that inevitable rainy day. But storehouses are a fool’s game and I do not want to be a fool. I want to be rich toward God.
Where is my treasure? Is it in a storehouse? Or is it being spent on what matters most to the One who matters most?