What’s on your list?
Your grades, your place on the team, how popular you are, what kind of car you drive, how many followers you have on Instagram?
You know that list — the one filled with the things we use to describe ourselves, to make us stand out, to remind us we are someone.
Except God isn’t really interested in all that. God is interested in who we are without all that stuff.
God, who favors the lowly over kings. God, who says the last shall be first and the first shall be last. God, who is recognized not by a crown, but by wounded hands and feet.
God, who wants us to add to our lists (and lives) words like love, forgiveness, grace, and honesty.
So, what’s on your list?
Let’s see what God may want to add…
Then he told them a parable: “A certain rich man’s land produced a bountiful crop. He said to himself, What will I do? I have no place to store my harvest! Then he thought, Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. That’s where I’ll store all my grain and goods. I’ll say to myself, You have stored up plenty of goods, enough for several years. Take it easy! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. But God said to him, ‘Fool, tonight you will die. Now who will get the things you have prepared for yourself?’ This is the way it will be for those who hoard things for themselves and aren’t rich toward God.”
What do you want said of you after you die?
I know, thinking of death is uncomfortable. Many Christians think about it annually on Ash Wednesday with the saying, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
When I preach funerals, I have never read a person's bank statement as measures of success. I have never focused on furniture in their homes, cars they’ve driven, shoes in their closet, or labels on their clothing. I’ve never preached on their things.
I’ve preached about how they loved friends and family, how their life choices made our world more loving and kind, and how we miss their laughter and their presence.
When life is over, what matters is the love we gave away.
The rich man in this parable misses this. He spends his time gathering things, seeking wealth. That comes, Jesus tells us, at the cost of time with friends, celebrations, and joy. Seeking what doesn’t matter costs him love.
So, what do you want said of you after you die? Are you making choices now to live that life?
Holy God, in whom all will die and rise again, open the eyes of my faith, that I may see love, that I may embrace the opportunities to love and serve all as Christ loves and serves, and that I may embrace the most holy thing of love in my life; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The night before Jesus is handed over to his crucifixion and death, he gathers with his friends to share bread and wine. And he reminds them to love.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another,” Jesus tells them and us.
Love invites us to seek what matters – our relationship with God – and reminds us we encounter God in all those we meet.
Jesus knew that love isn’t always an easy choice. He lived it. And he believes in us enough to ask us, “Will you love one another?”
And if you will, how will you live that love each moment, day, and choice in your life?