I do not have a lucrative job. So, at first glance I have little in common with the anti-hero of Jesus’ story. But with a closer look, I see similarities. Like the rich man in the parable, my greed manifests itself in a desire to hoard what I already have. As the economy spiraled out of control during the pandemic, my anxiety often led me to “store my surplus,” rather than share it with those who need it.
Reading this parable made me feel ashamed, and that’s an emotion I have decided to sit with. Hoarding money and creature comforts seems to be a natural inclination during a time of economic uncertainty. But as a Christian, I must atone for my sins of greed, which can be harder to recognize when greediness becomes so commonplace. Everyone appears to be ruled by the bottom line.
What Jesus wants us to see as he tells this story is that stockpiling and obsessively fixating on our bank balances takes our eyes off the true riches that life offers.
Being rich toward God (v. 21) has little to do with income brackets. It has everything to do with feeling an assurance that grace abounds, embracing an understanding that we are loved, and knowing a divine forgiveness that frees us to engage in the purpose God offers us. We can worry less and give more to love a broken world and help it heal.
What similarities do you see between yourself and the rich man in Jesus’ parable? How are you growing rich toward God?
God, teach me how to value the relationships that matter more than anything else. Amen.