Summary: Year C. The tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Luke 12: 32-40 (32-48), August 12th, 2001 Title: “How to plant eternal seeds of charity in the course of our daily lives.”
Year C. The tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Luke 12: 32-40 (32-48), August 12th, 2001
Title: “How to plant eternal seeds of charity in the course of our daily lives.”
Jesus is pictured as giving instruction to his disciples as he is journeying toward Jerusalem.
The material in this section comes from “Q,” the source Luke shares with Matthew and from “L,” material only Luke has. These are really isolated sayings of Jesus that Luke has put together, giving the impression they were delivered as one sermon. These sayings all reflect one theme: the eternal attitude or, as Jesus might put it, the kingdom attitude. Jesus instructs his disciples on what this attitude would look like in action. Their behavior is to reflect the eternal perspective. Jesus applies the eternal attitude to the topic of money in verses, thirty-three and thirty-four, and then to vigilance and fidelity in verses thirty-five to forty-eight. Good teacher that he is, Jesus uses contrast to illustrate the difference between the earthly, temporal attitude toward life and its eternal rival.
[Jesus said:] "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. "But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."
In verse thirty-two, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” This is a fairly typical teaching of Jesus regarding the eternal attitude. He knows that his imminent departure is going to evoke the emotional reaction of fear on the part of his disciples. He is telling them to keep the goal, the big picture, the end time in mind. In the light of that awareness, namely, that God has accepted them into his kingdom, they have nothing to fear. In the light of eternity all that happens in between is temporary.
In verse thirty-three, “Sell your possessions, and give alms. In the light of eternity the only value money and possessions have is to be given away to help others. In the light of the shortness of time between now and death the only sensible thing to do is to treat material things as means to a greater end, not as ends in themselves.
“Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out.” In the light of eternity the only currency that has any redeemable value is the currency of charity. Cash is good as trash. “Where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Clothing was a sign of wealth, but the little moth could destroy it and the cloth purse that holds the money to buy it. If a thief does not get one’s material wealth, natural corrosion, corruption, rust or crust will. Heavenly trust, the eternal attitude, is not subject to such things.
In verse thirty-four, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” A person’s heart, the concentration of energies and interests, is always with the things he or she treasures, what he or she values most, and reveals his or her true character; quality of life.
In verse thirty-five, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit.” Garments, long robes, were worn loosely when at home relaxing, but tied up with a belt around the waist when going out or working, like putting on a coat as a sign of departure or an apron as a sign of beginning work. Lamps would be lit at night to enable work to proceed- cooking, reading, sewing, etc. These are images for readiness and watchfulness. The eternal attitude translates, on earth, into a sense of urgency about only having a limited amount of time to accomplish a task, a sense of cleverness to use whatever means necessary to overcome obstacles, flowing and obstructive robes or physical darkness, and a sense of alertness to one’s present surroundings and future possibilities.