Jesus warns against building bigger barns, but I don’t think the size of the barn is the point.
When’s the last time you moved? As in, moved from one address to another? It’s been about eleven years for me, and yet, I vividly remember thinking “where did all this STUFF” come from? Stuff that I ended up packing, moving, and (mostly) unpacking. Incredibly, we moved into a larger home so, in the ensuing eleven years, I’ve probably doubled the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated.
In some ways, life seems to be about a never-ending process of accumulation.
We aren’t supposed to say this, but the truth is … I enjoy accumulating things.
I like to shop and I like to buy. You may know people who are great at browsing or window shopping. That’s not me. I shop with purpose. I shop to accomplish something. I shop to accumulate, even though that’s not always good.
Jesus tells us, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). He follows up that warning with a parable about a man whose farm was so successful he didn’t have enough room in his barns to store the harvest. He built bigger barns just to store it all (kind of like how I bought a bigger house). Finally, apparently after years of striving and years of accumulating, the man says to himself, “Self, good work! You have enough. Your years of hard work have paid off. Now you can ‘relax, eat, drink, and be merry’” (Luke 12:19). But that night, the very night he decided he finally had enough STUFF, he died.
Sometimes God is not subtle.
Jesus ended the parable by saying, “That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God” (Luke 12:21, MSG).
Like I said, not subtle.
As I read this passage and think about my bigger barns, I am reminded that God doesn’t actually care about my stuff. God cares about my heart. God cares about … my caring.
God loves me whether I bury myself in stuff or I abandon all possessions.
This isn’t about God, really. This is about me. Am I choosing to live a life that is all about my barns, or all about my God?
As Jesus says, “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
As I accumulate and accomplish, I need to invite God into that process. My focus needs to be reoriented away from what, back to who. The Who, The One who loves me.
What about you? Have you been thinking about a smaller barn? What do you think matters more, the size of your barn or where your focus is? Tell me about it in the comments, in an email, or on Facebook.
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