God spoke to the rich man and said, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.” Since ancient days humanity has always clearly understood that one’s life, one’s relationship to fellow human beings and God will never be judged by the acquisition of wealth, power or one’s asset/liability ratio. The ancient prophets all too often had to remind the ancient Jewish people about this absolute truth. Today in our modern society all too many who claim to be “good” people, “fair” people and “honest people go out every day and 5their primary desire is to end this day, this week, this month richer than they were on the 1st on the month. Well, maybe it’s time to re-read this great Bible story found in Luke 12:13-21. Materials, things, mere objects will never bring happiness, peace or love to one’s heart. Never!
In my lifetime I have met many people who are rich and yet they suffer a deep sense of impoverishment in their relationships with their family members, old friends, and even many other people they have met in life. Too often they just “use” people and afterward discard “those people” like an old piece of equipment. Owning farmland, shopping centers, office buildings, stocks, or other financial investments cannot bring the heartfelt peace most members of the human race desire. This already has been borne out by the rate of drug and alcohol addiction, suicide and habitual immoral or unethical behaviors which exist in families whose houses can be found near the top of a beautiful hill, or built back on land hidden away and out of view from the community main streets, or along the base of beautiful mountainous terrain.
What is worth more to you? Maybe some bigger barns bursting with a great abundance of harvested crops, or maybe the deep abiding love you have for your parents, your spouse, your children, your closest friends, the neighbor down the road, or even the stranger? Which is worth more? Our culture will always answer with a strong, clearly resonating shout of financial wealth! Yes! Wealth certainly brings greater power, influence, and choices. No doubt! But! That has been, is now, and probably always will be humanity’s favorite choice! But! Luke reminds us that this is a fool’s choice. The greatest assets you possess are God-given. Seek truth within. Search in prayer and your heartfelt wisdom will bless you in many ways. In the end, the rich will die, and they like the poor will simply be fitted into a casket, buried amid mere poor folk, and just like the poor, they too will have mere worms and bugs as their immediate neighbors. Rich or poor we all go from dust to dust and ashes to ashes. Which is more important to you…a life abundant with love or a life spent in acquiring more and more things? Your life is a sacred, precious and holy life. You have a place and a role to play in the unfolding of God’s kingdom.
-Father Michael Briese