Summary: Have you ever had “I” trouble? What can cause “I” trouble? Three things come to mine: Displacement, Distraction, and Distortion.
Luke 12:13-21 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” (14) But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” (15) And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (16) And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, (17) and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ (18) And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. (19) And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ (20) But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (21) So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (ESV).
Text: Luke 12:13 -21
Years ago I used to work at Spencer s at Outlet Market Place which is located near the entrance to Carrowinds. Among the many items I used to sell, one item which came to mind this week while I was working on this sermon. That item is T shirts. I cannot recall every slogan from every t-shirt but I can recall one that pertains to today’s text. It was a t-shirt that had a slogan that said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” This might be true to those who look at things though the lenses of the world but it not true for those of us who are as one of my seminary professors named Stanley Hauerwas called “resident aliens”.
To call ourselves “resident aliens” seems to come from an idea that Paul had when he wrote the letter to the Ephesians. Paul said it best best----”So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”. (Ephesians 2:19 ESV). As for the man in this parable, we can say that he has “I” trouble.
Have you ever had “I” trouble? What can cause “I” trouble? Three things come to mine: Displacement, Distraction, and Distortion.
How do we define displacement in the spiritual sense?
1) Displacement: We normally think of displacement as something that has been moved from its original place.
2) Relationship: Can that happen to people in their relationship to both their love for God and their neighbor? Obviously we know that the answer is “yes”. This parable proves that point in that this wealthy man forgot that “God is the giver of every and good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).
3) “I” trouble: We might also say that he had forgotten that he was a “fellow citizen”. We might also say the he forgot that he is his “brother’s keeper”!
Can wealth cause “I” trouble? It seems that the brother who came to Jesus asking Him to settle a dispute that he was having with his brother seems to have been suffering from “I” trouble.
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man,who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one;s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12-13-15 ESV).
Where is God in our lives? Do we have anxiety? “Anxiety is the measure of distance between man and God.” (E. Stanley Jones. The Way. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1946, p. 100). How much space is there between us and God? How great is our anxiety?
A couple had two little boys 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be assured that if any mischief occurred in their town their two young sons were in some way involved.
The parents were at their wits end as to what to do about their sons’ behavior. The mother had heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children in the past, so she asked her husband if he thought they should send the boys to speak with the clergyman.
The husband said, “We might as well. We need to do something before I really lose my temper?” The clergyman agreed to speak with the boys but asked to them individually. The 8 yr old went to meet with him first. The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly. “Where is God?”