Bishop Ward uses this week’s lectionary Gospel text from Luke 12 to remind us that there is a time to loosen our grip on things and empty out our barns.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, the most generous Jesus Christ, the great and wonderful gift of God to us – Jesus Christ.
The appointed texts for this summer from the Gospels have been from Luke’s Gospel, and Luke continually points us to the generosity of God and the importance of sharing that generosity with others. The text appointed for this next Sunday is a Bible story that comes close to home for eastern North Carolinians who know about big barns. A brother said to Jesus, “Tell my brother to give me my share,” and Jesus answers, “I’m not here to judge between you and your brother.” Then Jesus told a parable about a planter, a farmer, a person who built larger and larger barns to store more and more and more things, and as we hear this parable, we find ourselves in it.
I confess to you that Mike and I live in the beautiful episcopal residence that you provide for us, and it has really big closets. Some of the closets are walk-in closets and the bigger our closets are, the more things seem to accumulate in them. One of my goals for this summer has been to clean out those closets and to get rid of some of those things.
This is a deeply spiritual thing that we do, loosening our grip on the things which we want to claim as ours, and it’s very helpful for me, from time to time, to fill up boxes of things which somehow have accumulated in my home or in my office, and to give those things away.
Our God is a God of great generosity and we continue to celebrate, as we move into this new quadrennium, God’s generosity in all seasons. May you hear this story anew and may you be touched in the heart as I am whenever I hear it because I am like this person who had big barns and unless I guard my life very carefully, those barns become full, full, overly full, much more than I need.
Let us, as God’s people in the North Carolina Conference, empty out those barns; pour out our lives for those around us. May we be known as generous people because we love and serve a generous God.