Summary: It is not in satisfying our craving to have more and more that we have abundant life. No, it is in serving God and loving others as we love ourselves that abundant life is gained and lived. When we give, we show that Christ is our treasure.
What do we really need? Our society is based on acquisition of things, especially wealth. We are concerned about what we do not have, especially people who are considered to be “have not”. Jesus is saying that it doesn’t matter how hard we try to get things, we can’t accumulate more than what God can provide for us. If we are called to our heavenly home by God, what good will earthly goods be? After all, we can’t take them with us. What Jesus is saying in the reading we just heard from Matthew’s Gospel is that we must put first things first. In other words, we are to seek first the Kingdom of God, and we must do this every day. To seek the Kingdom, we must first seek the King.
We must first seek his righteousness. In other words, we are to be seeking God’s character within us, not God’s control over us. It is our job to serve God and God’s job is to supply us with what we need-not the other way around. God will supply us with what we really need if we put our trust in him. We don’t need everything we want, and we don’t want everything we need. God doesn’t give us everything we need.
People must see the Kingdom in us as we see the Kingdom of God. That is the real mark of a Christian. When ordinary people begin to talk about their faith in Christ, long-lasting results are achieved. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We are all called to be a witness for Christ in our lives. It opens the door, even slightly, for God to do something in the life of the person who hears the story. In order for the message to have integrity, it must first be embodied in our lives. In other words, God must be number one in our lives.
The message of the Gospel about the power of Christ to change a human life is by its very nature controversial, because people just naturally resist change and agents of change. Most of us would rather settle for our old familiar second-best lifestyle than venture with Christ into a far more excellent way of life. We simply don’t like for people to make waves.
But whenever the Spirit of Christ is released in a person’s life or let loose on a congregation, things begin to happen. Broken relationships are healed as reconciliation takes the place of alienation. The fruits of the Spirit such as love, peace, patience and kindness begin to emerge. And people catch fire for the Lord! No one can deny that something is going on. The earth may not quake, a sound like a mighty wind might not be heard, tongues of fire may not appear, and people may not speak in strange languages, but it could be described as a “second Pentecost”. And at times like these you can either respond favourably or negatively to Christ, but you will find it hard to ignore him. There is something about the activity of Christ that causes us to choose sides.
Jesus’ parable of the rich fool is a good example of what he is trying to tell us in today’s Gospel reading. The rich man kept building bigger and bigger barns, and then he died. He was foolish because he spent all of his time preparing for a future that never came. The future is not God’s creation-it is our imagination. We dream about the future, but God creates today. God is not saying that we should not prepare for the future at all. On the contrary, he is telling us to prepare for a future with him by putting our trust and faith in him, and by letting him work through us to do his work in the world.
The main problem in society today is worry about the future. The problem with worrying is that it is easy to do but so hard to lose. It is a power that controls our lives. Worry is a big problem for our society. Advertising only adds to that worry because it tries to convince us that we really need the newest car, computer, dress, suit, etc. This is really about acceptance, but the only acceptance that should matter to Christians is acceptance by God.
Many of the problems we can’t solve instantly can be moved one piece at a time, one day at a time. When worries seem to be overtaking you, let God take over. Trust God to supply our needs and take care of our future. Let faith provide you with a healthy and balanced perspective about life and its demands. Instead of nursing wounds of self-pity, pray for the grace to forgive. Instead of worrying about those for whom we are responsible, ask God to intervene and lift the burden from our shoulders. Instead of thinking creatively about how to bring someone else down, pray creatively how to build them up. We find peace of mind and heart only when we wrap ourselves in something bigger than ourselves. Peace is a by-product of being committed to the Kingdom of God and the resources God gives us for the journey we call life.