Over the last 18 months or so, many people have taken the opportunity to have a good clear out at home. Once they reopened, charity shops were inundated with donations. Meanwhile, we still have to book a slot at the tip in order to recycle or dispose of unwanted items. Let’s face it, many of us have far too many things and with extra time spent at home, we’ve had a chance to sort out our worldy goods and decide what it is we want to keep.
Today’s gospel reading reminds us that we should not simply go through life acquiring more stuff. It seems that money is no object for the rich man. He has been blessed by God; we are told that his land produced abundantly. But the rich man makes no attempt to share his good fortune. Not only does he keep it all to himself, he builds bigger barns to protect all that he has. We can imagine that the enormous barn doors are firmly shut and padlocked. No one can get in.
Once again, Jesus is urging us to think about our priorities. Are we the sort of people who share what we have, or do we close our eyes to the needs of others at home and across the world? God richly blesses us and asks us to bless one another, not only at harvest time but each and every day.
It was good to lead Hempsted School harvest service during the week with Rachel. The children had brought in many gifts for the work of the Foodbank. We spoke about the food they had donated. Then one of them rightly pointed out that there were also donations of loo roll and toothpaste and toiletries – items that most of us take for granted.
One of the things we said at the beginning of the pandemic was that once lockdowns ended we would not take our way of life for granted. Yet many people have said to me in recent weeks that this aspiration has been forgotten. As Christian people, are we simply in the business of building bigger barns, shutting and locking the doors? Or do we have a renewed desire to share not only what we have but who we are, our values and our faith in Jesus Christ? We worship a generous God who asks that we be generous in return. How do we allow God’s generosity to shape not only our priorities but the way in which we live our life as individuals and communities together?
Rev Nikki Arthy, Rector