"Father, what can I learn from these words of Jesus? Can you help me?"
There is much we can learn and there is truly only one gift given to us that is important. Jesus is truly being the teacher, the Son of God, offering us the way that we can gain our admittance into the Kingdom of God. In this parable Jesus is not saying give all that you have to everyone so that you have nothing. In contemporary parlance, we might translate Jesus' words as "Be careful. Do not allow all of the possessions you can amass make you a hoarder! Yes, many of us might well be a true hoarder if we take the time to evaluate our lives and how we live.
His words to a crowd of people who witness a brother demanding that his brother share the inheritance left by the father are as true today as when Jesus was teaching. Hear Jesus' words to all there watching.
"Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich,
one's life does not consist of possessions." (Verse 15)
Without any doubt, we know that unfortunately there are too many children, women and men who live lives that are desperate. Many times poverty and joblessness have taken up residence in their homes. On the other hand, however, we know that most of us today may not be wealthy but there is genuine reason for us to evaluate what impact having possessions and wealth have made in our lives.
We know today that most Americans know that pathway to the a lawyer's office if a "fair share" on an inheritance is not received even if the funds or possessions are not needed in his/her life.
The question we might not overlook is this: What do we consider the signs of success? Is it large bank accounts: sums of money that will be in the bank when the owner dies! Is it any one of the realities beyond money that we determine to be a sign of true success? A specialty vocation; a speciality academic degree; owning two or three homes; having the newest and most expensive car; having memberships in "the" clubs; having people always acquiescing to you because you are, in their eyes, successful?'
If we are honest with ourselves and our families, we Christians allow the "havings" just mentioned to take precedence over what it means for us to "follow Jesus Christ." What we should take from these words of the Gospel today is that Jesus is putting before us a genuine challenge, a way of life that will afford us a life of security and happiness. He teaches us time and again that the avenue to successes and contentment in this life is attained by "sharing." Yes, since we cannot take "it" with us when we die, Jesus is reminding us that sharing is the way to live. He calls us, as does St. Paul, to live a life that is identified with God. That is a life that is presented to us in the life and words of Jesus Christ.
In closing, let me suggest a thought that all of us might consider: real security is not in the future. Genuine security is in the here and now!