If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things-- anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."
Jesus never lets up on us. He keeps beating that drum about how we should conduct our lives. He also stresses that we do not know when our days on this earth will end. I find that I think about it more as I get older. I used to call my dad on his birthday and ask him how he was doing. He would often comment that he was still buying his toothpaste in the large tube. Apparently that was a Jack Benny joke he was fond of. Do most of you remember Jack Benny?
The epistle reading has the same theme as the Gospel reading. It is about possessions and what is really important in life. Paul writes, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”.
In the gospel reading from Luke Jesus tells the story of a man who put his energy into storing more and more crops so that in the future he could eat drink and be merry. But, his life is over that day. This parable begs the question, what had he done for his soul.
I meditate before I go to bed at night. Often, if it has been a long day, I will say to myself, “you are tired, really too tired to have a good meditation. Just put your nightclothes on and go to bed”. It is tempting and sometimes that is exactly what I do. However, more often than not, there is another voice that speaks inside my head and says, you need to take care of your soul. You need to do this one simple thing for yourself. It is then that I say to Sherry, I'm going to meditate for a little bit.
It never fails. When I meditate, I am glad I did.
I think what Jesus and Paul are saying is never stop nourishing your soul. Your soul is the part of you that is eternal. All of the other stuff in life is temporary. Our physical lives will be with us for a brief time and then they are finished. We do not know when we will take our last breath but fear of our own end should not be our motive for doing what is right.
I know that I am happier when I serve others. I am happier when I pray deeply. I never regret doing the right thing by my fellow man. There is joy in heaven when we do these things and God's grace falls upon us and fills us with spiritual light.