Luke 12:32-48 Provide for Yourself an Inexhaustible Treasure in Heaven
Now that sounds like great news--a treasure that never runs out and just keeps on giving! It sounds like one of those commercials to “Give the gift that keeps on giving”. Isn’t that what we attempt to do with our annuities, insurance policies and trust funds? Build it up so we can enjoy the payoff later. But when the market crashes or the dollar loses it’s value or the government freezes all your assets, as it did in China during COVID, then where is your treasure?
What Jesus is talking about in this section of Luke is creating a permanent and inexhaustible treasure IN HEAVEN not on earth. When he said go sell your stuff and give to the poor, some people thought that was pretty extreme. Maybe we do need to hold a big yard sale!
Recently we had a missionary priest from India visit our parish and he had a lot of questions about what he observed. He asked why people needed storage units for stuff that they don’t use and why do they build houses for their cars (as he noticed all the garages). He was also puzzled by why his guest room needed a bureau AND a closet. You see, all of his belongings fit in a carry on suitcase!
The questions generated some laughs but the amusement made us painfully aware of where our treasure can be found: in our storage units, bins piled high on extra shelving in our garages or closets or attics just sitting around collecting dust when someone may actually need what we hoard. We even have businesses that we pay money to haul away things we don’t want! When you think about it that should alert us to our overindulgence in things.
When Jesus asked, “Where is your heart?” He told us to look to where our treasure is. It would appear it is in all those storage units and bins. Or maybe in stocks and bonds and summer homes and multiple cars. Where your treasure can be found is where your heart is!
In my adult life, I have moved over twenty times. When you start packing up all that stuff you begin to ask yourself why do I need it? Where did it all come from anyway! What was I thinking? Or maybe I couldn’t say no to other people’s donations. Whatever the reason, the better question would be, Can I live without it? and then just get rid of it. Really how many afghans does anyone need?! Even our children have so many toys, games and stuffies that they are overwhelmed and complain of being bored. They have no idea how to create their own fun.
The maxim to “Live Simply that others may simply live” contains a lot of wisdom. Excessiveness creates clutter and clutter creates stress. Who needs more stress? Sharing our excess frees us to use our resources to be more generous with those in need. Giving creates joy, getting is only a temporary joy and often entails things we don’t need or want. How quickly children toss aside the gifts they receive. Re-gifting isn’t such a bad idea.
Our treasure is in leaving the world a better place, less cluttered and more focused on enriching the lives of others rather than of ourselves. Jesus told us that when we do good to others we have done good to him and that is certainly one way to build up an inexhaustible treasure in heaven to be enjoyed when we arrive.