A Legacy: Creating Something That Outlives You
Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘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 towards God.’
Listen to the words of the rich man in the parable and pay attention to the pronouns: I, I, I, me, me, me, my, my, my
This parable is about a man who does not consider his fellow human being, a man who does not consider God. And these two facts are no doubt related. For when we do not consider God, it is all too easy to ignore our fellow humans. And when we do not consider the brothers an sisters around us, then we will almost certainly fail to hear God.
And yet God steps in to ask a key and critical question: “The things you are prepared, whose will they be?”
This is a question timeless question. It speaks to the rich man. And it speaks to us today.
What are we preparing? And who are we preparing it for?
Who are we preparing this church for? In our worship, who are we preparing for? In our fellowship, who are we preparing for? In our decisions, who are we preparing for? With our building -what we see and hear (or do not hear) – who are we preparing for? In our community engagement and outreach, who are we preparing for?
Who are we preparing for? What we do and how we do it says something about who we are and are not preparing for. And if we prepare with intention and attention towards those who most want and most need a family of faith and a people on mission, then we must guide our thoughts and actions and decisions to welcome and accommodate for them.
Who we are preparing for today is our legacy for the future for “the only legacy we leave is that forged in relationship.”
Let us not simply forge a relationship with our self and the rich man of the parable and succumb to the solitude of greed. But instead let us reach out to God and to all God’s diverse children in relationship so that our legacy will be one of love and grace.