1. When have you placed too much importance of material things?
2. What are the most important things in your life?
Reading: Luke 12: 13-21
The first time I thought about what's most important in my life was during one of my first summers at Camp Mount Luther, circa 1979. A getting-to-know-each other activity was for each of us to imagine that our house was on fire and we could only save three things during our escape. If you could only save three things from your life, what would they be?
Of course, more important than any material goods are the intangible things in our lives. The “fool” in Jesus' parable has more material wealth than he knows what to do with, but he never considers sharing it, and he never considers that God can take it back at any time. In his life, as in ours, no amount of money can protect from diseases or from accidents. No amount of money can create meaningful relationships with others or with God. Possessions in and of themselves do not bring peace of mind. The rich fool in the parable could plan out everything except for when he was going to die. And at the end of his life, what did he have to show for all of his efforts? Friends? Respect? Honor? Wisdom? No, he had nothing but a barn full of grain.
You probably know the expression “He who dies with the most toys wins!” One could just as easily ask, “Did you ever see a hearse pulling a U-Haul?” This reminds me of a story that illustrates that our earthly possessions have no meaning for our eternal life. Once there was a dying man who decided to have his entire fortune transferred to gold bars. He asked his loved ones to be certain that his gold was secured with him in his coffin. Within a few weeks, he passed away, and was buried with his gold. When he arrived at the pearly gates with his gold in tow, Saint Peter asked him what was in his bags. The man proudly showed off his gold, explaining that he had amassed quite a fortune during his lifetime. Saint Peter shrugged and said, “Around here, we call that 'sidewalks'.” -- Christine Conz Moll, former Camp Mount Luther camper
Closing: Share what you consider to be the most important intangible things in your life...and why. Then pray this prayer:
Dear God, help us to remember what's most important in our lives. Help us to recognize the blessings you bestow upon us, and to remember that all that we possess is from your loving hand. Give us grace that we may honor you with all that we own, and all that we are. Amen.
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