Ministerial message: Neighbours, not possessions, should be earthly focus

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus gives a lengthy sermon (Luke 12-13:9) which includes well known passages like the parable about the rich man who stores up all his possessions, but dies before he can use any of them.

God says to this man, “Fool! What will you use your possessions for?” (Luke 12:13-21)

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Later Jesus tells his listeners to look at the birds and the grass. God is looking after them. If God is looking after the birds and the grass surely God will look after people. (Luke 12:22-31)

Jesus tells his listeners not to get too hung up on their personal wealth and possessions. True life doesn’t come from what we have or what we accomplish. True life comes from living a life with God.

Jesus goes further. He tells his listeners, “Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:32-34)

Jesus’ proclamation is often interpreted in a spiritual way – focus on storing up treasures in heaven; give generously to others and God will be generous to you. The focus of this interpretation is our hope to live in Heaven. And, why not? Where else will a moth not eat your treasures?

But, I think Jesus is pushing us to focus our attention a little closer to home. Jesus is always talking about the Kingdom of Heaven that is coming into our world. Revelation 21 prophesies the eventual merging of Heaven and Earth. Perhaps the treasures Jesus is talking about are not created or stored in some “other-world.” Perhaps they are created and stored right here on Earth, even in our City of Humboldt.

“Sell your possessions, and give alms” is New Testament talk for, “Help our neighbours and expect nothing in return.”

Rather than storing up our possessions and our wealth, Jesus is telling us to spread it around. Rather than investing in ourselves, Jesus is telling us to invest in our community. Rather than using your skills, know-hows and talents for your own social and financial advancement, use them for bettering the lives of your neighbours.

When we volunteer our time and our resources for our community, we help people in ways we never before thought possible. People who volunteer at the Soup Kitchen, the Hospital, Futuristic Industries, for Pride Week, and many other organizations and events too numerous to count, help to make Humboldt a safer and more supportive place to live.

It seems to me that every time we perform a kindness for someone we foster treasures of goodwill and love among the people who live in our community.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus tells us that when we treat others with kindness we are also treating God with kindness. When we foster treasures of goodwill in Humboldt, we are storing up treasures in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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