Ed questions, “How can I best build today, so I’ll have lots for tomorrow?” As my old neighbour in Saskatchewan nears retirement, he has been considering how to make sure that he has ample when he has no work income. He wants to know what I and others get with the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security?
He is skeptical when I tell him, “It is more than enough for some folks.”
“I’m not some folks,” Ed answers and adds, “When you are not retired, it sure looks like a pretty fine amount to count on every month.”
“Everything may look ample from the other side of the fence,” I tell him, “but once you get comparing yourself to others, it gets muddy.”
It is hard for us to understand that our lives do not consist in the abundance of our possessions or our stored-up wealth that we have today. It is easy for us to be self-centered and materialistic. Jesus explained it this way: Once there was a rich man whose land produced abundantly. He did not have anywhere to store his plentiful, harvest. Instead of selling it, the man intended to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to store all his grain and other goods. Then he was sure he would have stored away an ample supply of grain to provide for him the ability to relax, eat, drink, and be merry for many years to come. But God took his soul the very night of all his planning. All his possessions and wealth went to another at his death. (Paraphrase Luke 12:16-21)
Jesus challenges us that it is foolish to be very focused on laying up treasures, here on earth, to enjoy for ourselves; for we will not be rich toward God. It is not hard to find ourselves concerned with what we have and if it will be enough for tomorrow. It is not hard to be concerned about what someone else has or is getting compared to ourselves. Covetousness also goes by the names envious, grasping, greedy, jealous, grabby, desirous, or selfish.
A man in a crowd listening to Jesus said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus refused to be a judge or arbitrator for the man. Then Jesus said to the whole crowd be on your guard against all covetousness. (Luke 12:15)
How easily we forget that God is the source of our possessions and wealth. He gives each day our daily bread. Our entire life and that of everyone else depends on God. It is God who sends sunshine and rain on the righteous and unrighteous. God looks to our physical as well as our spiritual blessings. The Lord makes the earth fruitful and blesses us with the ability to work for the things we need. We share our daily bread with those unable to work. For we need not be greedy or wasteful or worry about the future for God gives us our daily bread. We live in the confidence that the Lord gives us what we need. It is from the hand of God that we find enjoyment in our work, or retirement, in our eating and drinking with contentment.