January 09, 2012

Luke 12.15-21

Then he said to the people, "Beware! Be on your guard against greed of any kind, for even when a man has more than enough, his wealth does not give him life."

And he told them this parable: "There was a rich man whose land yielded heavy crops. He debated with himself: 'What am I to do? I have not the space to store my produce?

"'This is what I will do,' said he. 'I will pull down my storehouses and build them bigger. I will collect in them all my corn and other goods, and then say to myself, "Man, you have plenty of good things laid by, enough for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, enjoy yourself."' But God said to him, 'You fool, this very night you must surrender your life! You have made your money, but who will get it now?'"

2 Comments:

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Random Arrow said...

The focus on the inner debate is getting my attention this time through. I haven’t paid much attention to this feature. Fascinating that the man in the parable isn’t presented as having time to follow through. The interruption by God aims at his inner conversation. The following passages situate such inner conversations in the larger context of anxiety and worry. The story here still feels a bit egoistic. Fear and all that. It’s not an appeal to altruism. Nor cutting checks for the local charity. Nor giving an extra jacket to crack addicts on Reno streets in winter. Perhaps local idiomatic cues in spoken versions of the story indicted local rulers? Given wealth inequalities of the time, who were the real readers or auditors of this story, that is, who took this to heart?

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger forrest said...

Thanks for drawing my attention there!

This starts off with the man wondering what he should do with all his produce, which he does not have space for. Hungry people are not on his list of priorities.

[I forget all I said in my lost comment yesterday, but]

Being able to say, "I've got plenty to keep me alive for many years, so now I can 'Take life easy, eat, drink, be happy." That's the approved social goal for people in this country-- and it's no good.

The whole thing, as William Stringfellow observed, is an example of covert worship of Death. After all the effort made to hold off the fear of death, the actuality arrives when it's due. And the barn full of supplies makes no difference.

 

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