RCL C Proper 13 Complementary
Ecclesiastes 1:2 and 12-14, and 2:18-23; Psalm 49:1-11; Colossians 3:1-11;
Saint Luke 12:13-21

The wisdom of Ecclesiastes and the truth of the Parable of the Rich Fool are annoying to contemplate. We know the wisdom and the truth are just that. The challenge is to discover how to live our lives so that they are “rich towards God.”[1]

The rich farmer in the parable attempts to increase his profits and to maximize his income by building a bigger barn. The bigger barn will allow him to avoid using his land for storage and to wait for higher prices before selling his produce. This is the wisdom of the world. You can learn it in the school of hard knocks or from an experienced farmer. But where do you learn how to be “rich toward God”?

The best answer I have for you is what you are doing right now. You are contemplating God’s revelation in the Scriptures and in the person of Jesus Christ. And that leads to adjusting toward God what in your life needs adjusting toward God. You cannot do more than that. Do that over a lifetime, and you will discover how far you have moved toward God.

For none of us, really, makes the same mistake as the Rich Fool, the mistake of devoting oneself, body and soul, to increasing income and maximizing profits.

Contemplating God’s revelation in the Scriptures and in the person of Jesus Christ aptly describes Saint Augustine’s education and preparation as theologian. And it was Saint Augustine who wrote of the rich farmer, “The fool did not realize that the bellies of the poor were much safer storerooms than his barns.” We have made use of those safer storerooms.

If we give ourselves body and soul to accumulate possessions, we run the danger of making those very possessions our security. We run the risk of being poor toward God, because we have put our trust in those possessions rather than in God.

When we know that Jesus is our Savior, we have become rich toward God; we have become rich beyond measurement. It is a wealth, a currency, which never fails or loses value. No one can take it from us. And no one can rob us of the communion with God given as this wealth’s most special dividend.

[1] Saint Luke 12:31.