Pentecost 11 :: Be careful what you ask for!

“Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 

bag of money

Bag of money

Right on, Jesus! I’ve heard of people asking Jesus for all sorts of things: healing, help with a nasty boss, patience with teenagers, the week’s lottery numbers, peace in the world. But I’ve never heard of anyone asking Jesus to decide on a family’s inheritance. I mean, really? He’s not some probate judge. 

Luckily, Jesus tells the man who had wanted him to adjudicate a property issue with his brother, that he is not the one to help in such matters, but... he then continues. “Did you hear the one about the foolish farmer?” And Jesus tells of the man whose harvest was so bountiful that he decided to build new barns to hold all the food for himself so he could retire in ease and live out his days in luxury and comfort. However, just as he was getting ready to do this he popped his clogs! [That’s Scottish slang for “kicked the bucket.”] He wasn’t able to enjoy anything. 

Now Jesus used this story as a warning to us all about valuing material possessions above a relationship with God. The implication is that if the farmer had had a good relationship with God, then, being a Godly man, he would have shared his bountiful harvest with the poor. He would have been as beneficent to others as God had been to him. 

One of the great joys I get out of reading scripture—especially the Gospels—is that I’ve learned to be very careful what I ask of Jesus. The guy who wanted Jesus as his probate judge probably was pretty amazed [and perhaps not a little miffed] that Jesus used the question as an occasion to teach on the value of a right relationship with God. That didn’t answer his question at all. Or did it? 

So. The next time I come to Jesus with a question, or want him to do something for me, I think I’ll be very, VERY careful what I ask. I don’t want Jesus to teach me too much!

Link to RCL Lectionary for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C


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