THE Lord told this 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."
The above parable is commonly called the parable of the rich fool. One year, this man's land produced a lot more than it usually did, he had an unexpectedly great harvest. He had so much crops that he had nowhere to store it. It's a good problem to have, in a way, as long as you know what to do with it.
The rich man decided to take down his old barns and build larger ones. A decent solution to the unexpected problem. However, the more he thinks about the solution to his great problem, the dumber his decisions get. So, ok, he built bigger barns. We do not know what he usually did with his crops. Did he sell them? Did he live off of them? Did he do both? We can guess and assume that he lived off of them because as soon as he built those larger barns, he decided to, basically, retire and enjoy his life.
These are crops, grains, and goods that he is storing, they do not have a long "shelf life." The idea that he is going to live off of them for the rest of his life is already foolish. He had extra harvest, he didn't exactly win the lottery. The smart thing to do is to sell the extra.
In the Gospel accounts we see Christ often telling His audience to use the gifts from God wisely. He even teaches to use the money wisely. Yes, He does say that money can lead to a lot of trouble (read: damnation), but money itself is never the problem, it's how we use it that is.
So, the rich man clearly was blessed one year, and he came to a conclusion that he "made it." It's like, if I got a nice fat Christmas bonus and decided to retire. No matter how great the bonus was (unless it's in millions), there is no way it would get me even past a few months.
We are blessed with gifts from God, sometimes we are even blessed with "extra" gifts. What do we do with them? How do we use them for the glory of the Kingdom of God?
You've probably heard the saying "live each day as if it was the last day of your life." While we probably understand the sentiment of the saying, it's not really that practical. If I know for sure today is the last of my life, there are a lot of things I would do, but it is very hard to live like that every day.
Yet, there is something to the saying. Every day we are capable of small, yet smart, acts. Every day we can manage our daily gifts or blessings for the glory of Christ, for our salvation, and for the benefit of those around us.
God asks the rich fool, "The things you have prepared, whose will they be?" The things that we prepare, whose will they be? The acts of our daily life, do they witness to the fact that we are already saved or to the fact that all we really want is to "relax, eat, drink, and be merry"?
Each and every action, each and every thought, each and every word is a treasure that is stored that makes us rich either for ourselves or toward God. We need to decide towards what or Whom we desire to be rich. And we need to realize that this decision has very real consequences. And then simply work towards that goal with the gifts and resources that we have.
Yours in the Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest