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Summary: Three lessons stand out in the story of the rich "Fool", that if applied, will enable us to have a "Wise Thanksgiving"


Luke 12: 13-34


My message to you this morning is entitled, "How to have a wise thanksgiving". In my preparation I came across this story that may speak to numbers of you this morning as you are busy making your plans and preparations for Thanksgiving.

A Change In Plans

Source: "Today’s Woman" magazine, Barbara A Tyler.

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I’m telling you in advance, so don’t act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won’t be coming, I’ve made a few small changes:

Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy China or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.

Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist assures me it is a turkey.

We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I’m sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 AM upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds. As accompaniment to the children’s recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don’t own a recording of tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.

We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. We’ve also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door.

Now I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private" meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.

Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice: take it or leave it.

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. She probably won’t come next year either.

I am thankful.

• The Scripture passage we read from Luke 12 needs to be read in its context. Especially what goes before it.

• Jesus has been speaking to the crowds of thousands and also more personally to His disciples about some pretty deep and important issues such as the danger of hypocrisy and the high cost of being a bold and unashamed disciple of His, when a fellow in the crowd blurts out a request that Jesus settle a financial inheritance dispute between him and his brother.

• Now that interruption could be compared to someone asking what the score was in a Seahawks or Sonics game right in the middle of my sermon! You’ll know by the timing of the question where his heart and soul is!

• This inheritance issue had obviously so gripped this man’s heart and mind that he heard nothing at all of what Jesus had said. Greed, bitterness, and resentment will do that to you. It will control your entire being to the point where getting what you want is all that matters.

• So Jesus responds with some noticeable irritation and forthrightness to the real issue in this man’s life – his covetousness - and then sets about telling a story to him and everyone else – a parable to illustrate the danger of greed and that there is more to life than the things you possess or do not possess.

• For covetousness and greed can capture the soul of both the wealthy and the poor. The one is captured and consumed by what he has and the other by what he does not have. So this is not a parable against wealth. Wealth in and of itself is a neutral commodity that can become either a blessing or a curse depending on how we use it or abuse it.

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