16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21

Recently I heard a speaker talk about doing ministry with men. One comment he made really caught my interest. The speaker said that men are prone to have hobbies. They create interests and then, most important, they will spend money on that interest. In fact, we will spend considerable amounts of money on our hobbies. At first I questioned his premise and then thought, “I own six fishing rods, an ever growing tackle box, an assortment of camping equipment, model train stuff for my Christmas train, my antique clock collection, and my chain saw for the woods along with my classy Stihl leaf blower and edger, etc., etc.” In fact, as I pondered the thought that I was the classic American consumer, I don’t want to admit it. In the words of Jesus, I’m a barn builder. And I don’t believe I’m alone.

Jesus speaks a parable of a rich man who had produced a good crop. In his desire to keep all the wealth he decided to build bigger barns tearing down the old barns. In fact, he said, I can now “…take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” He wanted his wealth for his own gain. Then, the man dies, “this very night your life will be demanded from you.”

No one wants to admit they are barn builders. To be this person means you are trusting in earthly wealth rather than the God who created us. It is a slippery slope to barn building. We disguise our selfishness with any number of excuses and in the end we forget easily that God is the provider and this is where we are to place our trust.

Maybe, I’m a barn builder but maybe not. I enjoy my collection of interests. Fishing brings me great joy and I love using my manly Stihl 16 inch chain saw but they are only interests, nothing more. I wish God to be the center of my life and all that I am as a man, a husband, a dad, a pastor reflects the extraordinary love that God has for us in Jesus. If that stuff gets in the way of that Love than the stuff goes away. I don’t want the barns.

For your Lenten reflection:

How do you build barns? Is your heart generous to give? What kind of debt do you have (debt reflects barn building without paying for it immediately)?

Prayer: Dear God, You give us all that we have. Let us celebrate in these earthly gifts of house and home knowing they offered to us out of your love. In Christ’s name. Amen