And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21 (emphasis added)
I honestly do not remember why or when I went to the trouble of circling all the personal pronouns in this passage in my Bible. I suspect it was a sermon somewhere sometime. But the circles are all still there, and it really does paint a clear picture. The “rich fool” in this parable was totally self-absorbed and focused first and foremost on his own comfort level. This point seems to be central to Jesus’ parable…and to God’s perspective on giving.
I cannot think about the concept of “mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, etc.” without thinking about the seagulls in Disney-Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Remember these guys?
I suppose there are a lot of ways to measure how much you or I “give” to something. For example, maybe you have a boss who expects you to give “one hundred, ten percent” and measures you that way. Or maybe you had a coach in school who wanted you to “leave it all on the …
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:1-3
I will be the first to admit I have validation issues…O.K., maybe not the first to admit it, but I do get to that admission eventually. 🙂 What other people think of me probably matters more to me than it should…words of affirmation are definitely how I feel loved (thank you, Gary Chapman). Add to that my (mostly-healthy) competitive nature and then stir in my very American-public-school-achievement orientation, and you have a recipe for a man who is all about constantly assessing his successes versus his failures. It is important to me. Maybe it is important to you too.
I measure everything. I measure my case load and my billings at work. I measure my workouts and my sleep hours at home. I measure my quality time spent with my wife and with my daughters (never enough). I measure the conferences and speaking engagements I do, the writing time I have, the churches with whom I consult, and the budget dollars in my ministry. I measure the attendance in The Gathering, and my teaching time there. I measure my readership, my “hits”, my “click-throughs” and my subscriptions to this blog. I am always assessing and reassessing and measuring the success and/or failure of all these endeavors. I’ll bet you do as well.