The Blessings of Charity


    And he said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.”  Then he spoke a parable to them saying, “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’  So he said, ‘I will do this:  I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose things will those things be which you have provided?’  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God?” (Luke 12: 13-21)


  Jesus warned his followers to avoid covetousness; covetousness is the “excessive desire for another person’s belongings; or the urge to acquire or possess more than one needs or deserves.”  Most human beings are unsatisfied with the bare necessities.  They, like the wealthy man in this parable, need things in abundance in order to feel secure. In this parable, when the rich man had fully filled his barns, he selfishly sought to keep the additional grain for himself. Unfortunately he never considered the needs of the less fortunate. The man’s plans for a comfortable future would be short lived; for death would visit him that same day.  As a result of selfishness and greed, the man lost his possessions, his life, and ultimately his eternal place with God.

   When I was a young child, my mother would often bake cookies.  When she had finished using most of the cookie dough, she would give the bowl and spoon to myself and my siblings.  We enjoyed scraping the bowl and licking the spoon clean. In the end, whatever hadn’t been consumed was wasted.  God as well is not fond of wastefulness.  Whenever we seek to possess more than we can use (see note), we engage in a worthless and futile endeavor.  The Lord is greatly pleased when His children utilize their wealth to bless those in need.  When asked how to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, John the Baptist said, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food let him do likewise.” (Luke 3: 11) [Note: This may not include things like saving for retirement or a child’s college fund; as this type of saving is simply storing up resources for someone’s future needs.]

    As Christians we are required to employ our abundant possessions to glorify God and to bless the needy.  If we are wealthy, we can put our money to work for the Lord.  If we own property and we are not using it, we can offer it to someone who can.  If our closets are overflowing, we can gather up the overflow and bring it to the thrift store.  If we have excess time, we shouldn’t waste it; instead we should use it to love those who are hurting.  If God has given us abilities and talents, we must exercise them constructively; using them to serve our fellows.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow; so we should put whatever we have been given in excess to work for God.  May His generosity fill our hearts; may the desire to serve and to provide for the needs of others become a newfound principle in our lives; and may we find comfort in knowing that our earthly charity will produce eternal riches.

   “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and ask that You help us to be generous toward You and toward those who are in need.  Relieve our fears, so we can let go of greed and seek to use our abundance to bless others.  As we become more willing to give, may we procure eternal riches; riches without end; riches reserved for us in Your Heavenly Kingdom.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name; amen.”  God bless all of you!

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