Daily Devotions
 

We are thrilled to once again be sharing a daily devotion with you for the season of Advent. These inspiring devotions have been written by YOU the members of Good Shepherd.  A sincere “thank you” to everyone who opened their hearts to share a small piece of their faith journey with us.   As we journey toward Bethlehem in this season, take time each day to walk with God and experience the stirrings of the deep love that took on flesh to walk with us.  

During the four week Advent season, each Wednesday our devotion will be a video reflection by Dr. Kevin Seal, Director of Worship and Music at Good Shepherd, as he shares a teaching about the Words and Music of Advent.

Each new day’s devotion will go live directly on our webpage, goodshepherd.com at 6am, (look under the worship tab at the top right of the front page) or you can follow the link that will be sent out later each morning in an email from Good Shepherd.  


Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

by retired Pastor, Larry Donner

Generosity

Luke 12:16-21

Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

This parable disturbs me because, I confess, I have the modern-day equivalent of big barns and abundant crops. My house and retirement account are both more than comfortable. I want for nothing.

Here’s the rub: I still want! Take tools, for instance. I love tools! I conjure up new projects requiring new tools to fill my “man barn”! So, I’m like the man in the parable, which is why I find it so disturbing.

The man is neither a thief nor guilty of mistreating workers. He has been careful with his money and property and is reaping the rewards. He is a lot like me – or like you, perhaps – fortunate but not unjust. Yet, if he is not unjust, then what is he? He is a fool, says the parable. As preacher Fred Craddock points out, “He lives completely for himself, he talks to himself, he plans for himself, he congratulates himself.”

Jesus told this parable in response to someone in the crowd who asked for his help in settling a dispute with a sibling over the division of the family inheritance. Avarice was clearly behind the request, leading Jesus to respond: “Take care! Be on guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Jesus then tells the parable about the rich fool.

Let’s be clear: Jesus does not condemn money or things, nor the possession of them. He simply warns us about the pitfalls of trusting them rather than God to save us.

What follows this parable are those familiar verses about life consisting of more than food and clothing. No need to be anxious about such things, declares Jesus, calling to mind the rich man’s folly. God cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Does not God provide everything you need, as well? So, instead of worrying, strive instead for God’s kingdom, says Jesus, summing it up with the grace-filled reminder: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

The foolishness of the rich man’s self-centered living is driven home by the suddenness of his dying, recalling Jesus’ words in Luke 9:25 “What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” In the end, his riches do him no good. 

My heart is too often concerned only with me, which puts me in league with the rich man and why I find the parable so disturbing. Fortunately, Jesus offers the prescription against the deadly dangers of greed: generosity! “Give alms,” he said. Care for the needy with radical unselfishness and thereby make “purses” (barns) for yourselves that do not decay – a heavenly treasure no thief, not even death, can steal. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34) 

Look! Jesus didn’t say our treasure follows our heart. He said our heart follows our treasure! So, if we get our treasures in the right place our hearts will follow, which is why I need to give! In generosity, I am set free from greed and worry, and helped to remember that God, not my own doing, has already saved me through the overflowing, generous grace of Christ. 

This good news parable is a gracious reminder that we are God’s eternally and that we were created to live in community with one another where our blessings bless others and others’ blessings bless us. Such are the treasures for those who are rich toward God.

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