Sermon – 08-04-19 – Proper 13 – Cycle C
Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23; Psalm 49:1-12; Colossians 3:1-11;
Sermon Title: “How Much Stuff Is Filling Our Barns?”
There is this hut – ground floor, sides and roof made of plant material, no door, no windows, all one room, no stove, no sink, definitely no refrigerator and no toilet. A family of six persons live in this “building.”
There is this mansion – grandiose entrance and circular staircase to three floors, as many bathrooms as bedrooms and then some, enough closets and floor space to store all possessions efficiently and attractively.
There is this modest home – working class level, two bathrooms, window air conditioners, not enough storage space and floor space and wall space to handle the large entertainment equipment, an exercise bike, a set of drums, a keyboard, ceramics, newspapers, a dog, toys for the dog, photographs, fishing equipment, plants, not to mention clothes and more clothes and crafts.
Well! Which scenario seems to match your reality the closest? Oh, I forgot. Do you collect souvenirs from trips, near or far? I know. Even the car displays how we have spent our money.
Do we build extra buildings or an extension on the house or do we make our car sit out in the weather, while we use the garage for storage? Does this sound vaguely familiar? The farmer with so many crops that he built bigger barns? What would God have wanted him to do with his abundant crops that year? Should he have left them rotting in the field? The next planting season may have been a real challenge if that matted mess of vegetation had been left to spoil.
Yes, you have the right idea if you are wanting to shout that this farmer should have given part of the crop to people who did not have fields or could not afford the seeds. Some of us have the ability to give certain necessities to other people, while at the same time depending on other people to provide goods and help for us; a market-exchange type of arrangement.
In my opinion, that is how God envisioned his world to be. People sharing with people. People who live in towns and cities cannot grow crops easily but they can grow hospitals and gyms and shopping centers and food pantries and food kitchens.
But here is a new thought. Can we have too many hospitals, rehabilitation places, gyms, stores? Maybe accumulating these businesses and services is similar to building new buildings to store extra crops.
Why do we go overboard with things and activities in our lives? Why can’t we keep life simple? Well, my house has too many pieces of clothing because if I kept it to a minimum and a blouse or skirt or coat or boots or shoes or raincoat suddenly became unusable, what would I do? Well, I would do what many people in this world do – I would “make do.” But, I need to look nice, I tell myself. I need to stay dry, I tell myself. I need to look professional, I tell myself.
There is this thing called “time.” I can’t drop everything to run to a store. And the store will not have something I like in the size I need.. No, I definitely need to be prepared. Hence, the squashed-full closet space. And those of us who change weight frequently need to have several sizes hanging in our closet.
How much stuff is filling our barns?
We did not even mention technology. Oh my! What is enough? Enough indeed! Do we really NEED ipads and iphones and iwhatever? I heard an advertisement where the speaker said a string of idevices and ended with “idon’t know what I am doing.” We could also say idon’t know where iam going because iam not looking where iam going and idon’t know how to hold a live conversation because inever do a face-to-face activity unless we count Skype or Facetime.
How much stuff is using our time and our money?
Some of us work from our homes. That means equipment and supplies. Next to the fear of fire is my fear of having no working computer. So I have two computers. One computer pushed out my AOL program. On the other computer, I allowed an update of my WordPerfect program to download and install. Well, the minute it was installed it took over! It would not allow any Word documents to enter when people would send Word documents by email attachment. So until I found time to let an expert help me – a free expert – I had to be sneaky to work around my ailing computers. I needed to involve my smartphone in the process. It stretched my mind for sure.
Do you think there is too much stuff in my barn, disguised as an office?
Our Colossians passage today mentions a string of sins some of which surely match each of us. Those sins are like the stuff in our barns. They need to go. They keep the pure and simple among the missing. We don’t need to swear. We don’t need to lust. We don’t need to be angry. We can banish those things from our lives – our barn lives. They keep us from the purity, the clarity that is Jesus. We read, “Christ is all and in all!” Sweep our lives. Send the bad stuff packing! Immediately invite Jesus into our lives full time and filling every inch of space. Jesus is not clutter. Jesus is not extra. But, we can share Jesus and still have enough Jesus for ourselves.
You do know what happened to the man who built bigger barns so he would not need to work or worry ever again? Well, he didn’t need to work or worry anymore because God took the man’s life on the very night he began to relax, eat, drink and be merry.
The moral of our four scripture lessons today seems to be: work just enough to have just enough and clean up our behavior and attitude. In this way, we will receive the blessings God has in store for us.