Monday, August 2, 2010

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: A Homily on Luke 12:13-21


Luke 12:13-21


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


It’s just never enough. That is the bottom line with greed. Nothing is ever enough.


The harvest was plentiful, and instead of giving thanks to the Giver of the gift, the Rich Fool simply wants to reward himself, and build more to hoard more.


Now, Jesus does not say that this man is immoral or wicked. It sounds like he has been a good and wise farmer, working hard. He would have plowed and watered and weeded. He managed and planned. Yet nothing that he said or thought or did deserved that bumper crop.


Look at the pronouns in his statements. And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' Not a thought about who gave him the crop in the first place. Or the land for that matter. Or the sun or rain. The health and the brains to work and manage the farm. Everything is about himself. Everything is about this self-reward for his greed.


Now, Jesus is not condemning planning for your future. He is not judging the man for storing up for the future. Your pension, your 401k, your savings are all fine with God. He is not telling you to avoid saving for the years to come. But He is condemning the refusal to acknowledge Him as the One who gives you all things. He is decrying the unbelief that underlies such selfishness. He is saying how foolish it is to deny God and pretend that you are the source of all your wealth and goods, no matter how small or great they are.


Of course, you don’t even have to be on the wealthy end of things to participate in this sin. You can be in or near poverty, but be consumed by the idea of what others have, coveting and obsessing on what you do not have. This is the other side of the coin of this same sin. You are then denying God and His goodness as you spend time pondering how you can dig yourself out of poverty, or being angry at God that He does not give you what your neighbor has.


Are you greedy with something as simple as food, not wanting your brother or sister to get all the dessert before you do? Or do you try to tweak your taxes, so you can keep more of your hard-earned money?


For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9.) Yes, our Lord, though rich as He is God, gave everything up, becoming poor, for you. He became impoverished so that you can receive the riches of salvation! His work on the cross was one that plunged Himself into the depths of sin’s poverty, so that His perfect, holy, sinless innocence could be made ours!


Our Father in heaven gives you all that you have. He produces the food and the people and work in our lives that bring us food, clothing, and shelter. He gives us leisure and entertainment too!


Christ our Lord has brought you salvation, too! He has purchased and won your redemption, and now delivers it to you through His precious means of grace. This Sunday, yet again we witness the miracle of two children being washed into His kingdom of grace. He rescues, forgives, and gives life to these babies, just as He did you. He saves them from a life of godless greed, gifting them with Himself.


Forget the bigger barns. Forget the working hard and then taking a break. That’s not what this text is about. The point of today’s Gospel is that this man forgot all about the Lord and was worshiping himself. THAT was his sin.


Jesus has rescued and redeemed you from such greedy sin and self-worship. He makes you His own and you live as His reborn and renewed children. You can eat, drink, and be merry! Not because you have worked hard and are rewarding yourself. But because the Lord has done the work of saving you. And now you eat and drink at His Altar, rejoicing and being merry in the forgiveness, joy, and mercy that He lavishes on you! Amen.

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