Good morning and happy Wednesday! Counting today there are four more shopping days till Christmas. That term, shopping days gets my goat, really. We hear it on commercials and the radio, and even sometimes see signs in stores reminding us to buy buy buy! Even some restaurants get into the act, with ornaments, books, tee shirts, etc that you can buy for your loved ones. It happens year round, actually, but it seems much more aggressive this time of year.
While there is nothing wrong with giving gifts, sometimes I think too much emphasis is on that particular part of the holiday. It's fun to give; I love finding or making just the right thing for my loved ones. I like getting things as well. When someone asks What do you want I can easily come up with a list as long as my arm of items I could use or really want. It is entirely too easy to get the Greedy Gimme's this time of year. While we tend to pin that fault on children (as well as try to curb that impulse, sometimes we adults face it as well, yours truly included. (I know, truly shocking, right? Yup, I fall prey to the Greedy Gimme's at times.)
I had to smile when I read today's passage in Luke, chapter twelve verses 13 through 40. Jesus was asked by a follower to step in and settle a dispute between the man and his brother over an inheritance. He wanted his brother to share.
14. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
Jesus then spoke quite a bit about covetousness.
15. And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
The next few verses Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and his barns. This man had worked hard and his land had produced much. His first thought was wow, look at all this stuff! (Greatly paraphrasing here) My barns are all full to bursting so where am I going to put all this stuff? Then he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. He thought he had plenty for the next several years so he could afford to sit back and relax for awhile. Eat, drink and be merry. But God had different ideas.
20. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul will be required of thee; then whose shall these things be, which thou hast provided?
Ouch. The man was so busy gathering for himself he had taken no thought for others who could benefit from his excess, or even of his soul apparently. His only concern in life was to have more and more for himself, but a dead man cannot enjoy the things we collect here on earth.
While it is essential that we have jobs so that our families are fed and clothed and have a roof over their heads, sometimes a little too much emphasis is put on our material wants and needs.
22. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, whate ye shall put on.
23. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
Jesus knew that we worry over the things we need sometimes. But what can we change by worrying? God cares for the birds and the flowers of the field; how much more then does he love us, whom he created in his own image? While we may not get that snazzy new sports car or a large dream home that is custom built, we will have our needs met. It's okay to have some nice things, but it shouldn't be the end of the world when a beloved object breaks. We shouldn't worry so much when the cupboard is nearly empty and the wallet is even barer. God will provide if we trust him. Sometimes that means swallowing pride and asking for help. There will be times when others will need our help and we can pay it forward.
If we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven rather than here on earth (verse33) then we can better watch for when Jesus will return. No thief has ever called to let the homeowner know when to expect him; otherwise the owner will be up waiting and protecting his home. Instead the home owner (hopefully) keeps an eye on his household and is mindful to keep his family safe. We should be watchful and ready when Jesus comes.