“You Can’t Take it With You”

by Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Benjamins.  Lettuce.  Moolah.  Dough.  Cheddar.  I got two hundy-sticks that say we could probably fill this whole page up with slang terms for money.  People loooooove money.  Some surveys have shown that when asked whether a person would want to find true love and be poor, or be filthy rich and never find love, the majority of people choose to be rich.  That seems crazy!  But I bet you gave it some serious thought yourself just now after reading that.

Probably second on the list of things people love would be “stuff”, as in the stuff that they buy with their money.  We want the biggest house, the latest tech, the nicest clothes.  Money and stuff.  

Money itself isn’t bad, but the problem comes when we think money will make us happy, and we make it into a “god”.  We start to live our lives and make big decisions based on how it will affect our bank accounts.  You might take an extra shift at Starbucks when you could have been spending some much-needed time with a good friend.  Someone might accept a job that would pay them twice their current salary, but they’d have to travel every week, and would barely see their kids.   

Jesus in this week’s Gospel tells of a man who lived that way.  Maybe he wasn’t blowing all his money on trips to Vegas every weekend, but he wanted to make sure he had plenty of money in the bank, plenty saved for retirement, and plenty to spare.  Then he finds out it’s the end of the line for him, and that in the grand scheme of things it was all for nothing.  He spent all his time thinking about this life and not enough time thinking about the life of heaven.  

In his case and in ours, it’s not really about money.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with money.  I know plenty of wealthy people who are incredibly generous, holy people.  It’s about trust.  So how much do you trust God?

One of the crazy things about being a Christian is that we can live without fear in pursuing what God’s will is for us. Maybe God is calling you to do something with your life that isn’t going to make you rich, or something that involves risk, or something that everyone else thinks is crazy. But we don’t have to be afraid when we are going after what God calls us to, because we can trust completely that he is going to provide for us and lead us in the right direction, and that he has our best interest in mind. Maybe someone who doesn’t believe in God would think twice about leaving their security or comfort zone to go after something, even if their heart is burning to do it for some reason.

So as Jesus says, store up your treasure not for yourself, but be rich in the things that matter to God.

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