When Presents become Possessions
The parable in Luke 12 tells of a rich man who had been so successful in his farming endeavors that he had run out of room to store his crops. That was good, right? He was financially secure. As he considered his options, one became attractive. The New Living Translation captures the mindset of our rich farmer:
"Then he said, 'I know! I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I'll sit back and say to myself, "My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!"'
God had a different take on his wealth.
"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." Luke 12:20-21 ESV
Wow, our farmer didn't see that coming!
"Living as a fool" means living as if there is no God, as if God did not matter. The Lord can take away our things in a heartbeat. The sharpness of God's language is a warning, an urgent caution that we must acknowledge God's control over everything we own.
Instead of acknowledging God's goodness and looking for a way to use this crop to bless others, the farmer had only one focus-himself. Remember the question that was Jesus' reason for telling the parable: someone in the crowd demanded that Jesus tell his brother to divide an inheritance with him. in response, Jesus said:
"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15
Just as Thanksgiving Day has become all about turkey, family and feasting, Christmas has become about the accumulation of presents that become possessions. The lesson is clear. Life does not consist in the abundance of presents.
If we take Christ's response to the offended brother and connect it to the rebuke to the rich fool, the point becomes clear. Money, possessions, inheritances, retirement accounts, etc. provide no security.
This means that presents which morph into possessions offer no security for you or your children. Giving and receiving presents is a good thing. But work hard to ensure that presents remains gestures of love and appreciation which model the example of Christ's gift to his people.
An abundance of presents does not equal an abundance of love or peace. Find joy in relationship rather than possessions. Teach this lesson to your children.Teach them to be rich towards God.