Luke 12:13-21 (NIV)

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 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 all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things 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 anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Matthew 6:19-20 (NRSV)

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

DEVOTION – Magdiel Martinez (Nuevo Leon, Mexico)

Today in my country, we are suffering from tremendous insecurity because of widespread violence.  This has caused many of us to avoid owning automobiles or jewelry because having them exposes us to the danger of losing our possessions or even our lives.  Living under these extreme circumstances reminds us of Jesus’ message not to store up treasures on earth but to seek rather the kingdom of heaven.

Even with all our precautions not to appear wealthy, a young man wielding a gun stole my wife’s car.  My wife was not harmed, thank goodness; and the thief did not take her purse or the keys to our house.  However, we have not been able to forget this incident.  My wife reminds me, “We did not lose only the car; we lost our security and sense of peace.”

Today, we live modestly out of necessity rather than conviction.  The disciples of Jesus went a step further.  For their faith, they left everything they knew to seek the kingdom of heaven.  Our challenge is to nurture our spiritual growth and to place it ahead of absurd accumulations of riches – to act out of faith rather than fear.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: No possession is as valuable as our faith in God.

PRAYER: Faithful God, give us strength to place you first in our lives, above all that we own.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Those Living in Fear of Violence