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Earthly retirement ends—don’t only plan for that

November 18, 2021

Daily Scripture

Luke 12:13-21,32-34

13 Someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus said to him, “Man, who appointed me as judge or referee between you and your brother?” 15 Then Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Guard yourself against all kinds of greed. After all, one’s life isn’t determined by one’s possessions, even when someone is very wealthy.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “A certain rich man’s land produced a bountiful crop. 17 He said to himself, What will I do? I have no place to store my harvest! 18 Then he thought, Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. That’s where I’ll store all my grain and goods. 19 I’ll say to myself, You have stored up plenty of goods, enough for several years. Take it easy! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool, tonight you will die. Now who will get the things you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 This is the way it will be for those who hoard things for themselves and aren’t rich toward God.”

32 “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights in giving you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Make for yourselves wallets that don’t wear out—a treasure in heaven that never runs out. No thief comes near there, and no moth destroys. 34 Where your treasure is, there your heart will be too.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus used this parable to get his listeners (and us) to think about how far ahead our saving plans reach. For the rich man storing his large crop, the sad answer was, “Not nearly far enough.” That was why Jesus included the startling statement that “one’s life isn’t determined by one’s possessions.” Yes, age changes our working life, and may end it—but God’s reality goes well beyond that. This life, and whatever material goods we enjoy in it, will end. Only God can (and does) offer us eternity.

  • A man asked Jesus to tell his brother to give him a bigger share of an inheritance. But Jesus spoke sadly of “those who hoard things for themselves and aren’t rich toward God.” His wry story said what we work (and maybe fight) so hard for does us no good when we die. Has your desire for material goods ever blotted out relational or spiritual concerns? What helps you make sensible provisions for material needs without letting the stuff you think you “own” actually “own” you?
  • When Jesus called his followers a “little flock,” they were. That was no reason to fear. God generously “delights” in giving them (and us, who are a much larger “flock”) the gift of God’s kingdom. In Matthew 6:27, Jesus added that worry doesn’t help. Have you ever spent time and energy worrying about things that never happened, as it turned out? How does worry differ from wise foresight or planning? Instead of worrying, what are more practical ways to meet life’s tasks?

Loving God, in fall foliage or spring flowers, every morning and every evening, you delight in giving to me. Keep my generosity growing, even though it will never match the scale of yours. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lindsey Arnold Seevers

Lindsey Arnold Seevers

Lindsey works with the Mission Ministries team and her Overland Park location colleagues to equip people to serve in Kansas City (and beyond!) through training and hands-on experiences. She also works closely with Hunger Ministry volunteers to help #FeedKC.

When she’s not juggling serve events, Lindsey enjoys creating music, puppets and sketch comedy with her husband Gary. Her favorite Bible story comes from John 21, because she will never turn down a brunch invite…especially not from Jesus.

The best decision I ever made was marrying the middle child of two missionary parents.

My husband Gary is incredibly generous with his time, talent, and whatever else he can give. If there are two servings of milk left in the container, Gary will put two glasses side by side and give me the one that has just a little bit more. This past week as we cleaned out our garage, he gave away stacks and stacks of lumber to our neighbors and friends. And I’ve lost track of the number of photos, videos, and creative projects Gary has donated to organizations and churches.

Dear Reader, it’s hard being the oldest child. My default setting is much like the man in the crowd from today’s Scripture. I can easily see myself dragging Jesus into a disagreement about what is rightfully mine, and I can hear myself yelling “It’s the principle of the thing!” But what I’m slowly (and stubbornly) learning from Gary is that there can be so much more joy in giving things away than I will ever find in having them.

We live in a society that wants us to believe we never have enough. Businesses are built on the idea that a bigger barn (or car, or house or stock portfolio) will finally make us happy. But how much happier might the rich man in the parable have been if, instead of building bigger barns, he filled his table and shared the bounty with his neighbors.

It’s important for me to remember that I already have more than enough because our Creator delights in giving us the kingdom. Giving to others out of the incredible abundance God has given me does not lessen my treasure, it only increases it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to make sure Gary hasn’t given away one of our dogs…

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.