Weekly Bible Reflection
Luke: Signs of the Kingdom
Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Text: Luke 12. 13-21: " Be rich towards God: you can't take it with you."
Begin by using the Bible Study method as outlined
Have you had to clear the house of someone who has died or deal with their estate? What was it like and how did you feel?
Has anyone you know been left an inheritance that created a family disagreement?
A Window on the Text
Here is another account of Jesus speaking with a crowd. We can imagine a crowd surrounding him, some supporters, other sceptical or downright hostile. The young man asks a question, perhaps to heckle him, and test how he will react, or because he is in a genuine dispute with his family about an inheritance. Religious leaders were used to settle matters of law at that time.
In those days a man's estate was handed down using strict rules, mostly for the eldest son, younger ones got a much smaller share (this was common in UK until about 50 years ago). Jesus refused to intervene, but told this parable to get his audience to think hard. In biblical times, a hand to mouth existence was common, there were no supermarkets to provide anything you want all year round, nor were there many ways to keep a surplus of food or money from one season to the next. A good farmer in a good year, like the man in the parable, could easily produce much more than for short term needs of his own family, what should he do with the rest? Sell and invest to grow his business? Give it away? Or build a bigger barn to store things for himself, and take life easy? Jesus makes the folly of the rich man clear in the last sentence: it is much more important to be rich towards God.
This is a parable that fits modern life easily, most of us receive and keep far more than the essentials, so it gives us a real insight for us into dealing with our surplus.
Responding as a community
- How much more than you need do you receive?
- What is your 'barn' and what do you keep in it?
- What does 'rich towards God' mean for you?
- How is it best to deal with memories and possessions as people grow older?
- Pray for wisdom when dealing with our excesses
- Pray for generosity towards those in our communities who do not have enough for their needs>