Luke 12:32-40 Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
"Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
"But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."
Reflection Clearly Jesus is speaking to me and to you. After all, we are the ones with possessions. At the very least we have a computer (or access to one) and electricity and a place to sit and time to read and write and wonder about such things as Jesus is speaking. If you are reading this you are probably not worried about finding your next meal, or trying to remember the last time you had a meal. Clearly, Jesus is speaking to those of us who have possessions, who have more than our daily bread. Jesus is speaking to those of us who have a surplus, who have things to sell, who have enough to share with our sisters and brothers who are wondering where they will find their daily bread.
So Jesus tells the people with possessions, and us, “Do not be afraid.” This is not a zero sum game. There is nothing for you to lose when you are generous and give from your surplus. In fact, there is everything for you to gain. When you find pleasure in giving from your surplus you align your will with God’s will and with God’s “good pleasure.” This is the kingdom come.
Jesus’ parable does not accuse or recriminate people with possessions. Quite the contrary. Jesus reminds us that the kingdom has everything to do with the nature of our relationship with God and our lifestyle. As servants or slaves we are to be alert, to receive and act on God’s counsel. Rather than store up possessions for ourselves we are to imitate the way of Jesus, we are to align our will with the will of God to be sure every person receives their daily bread. This is what gives us real pleasure.
“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people, or one in eight people in the world, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm
To bring it a little closer to home, some 13 million children in the United States live in homes with limited access to a sufficient food supply. http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/family_home/family/childcare/Children_Childcare/Malnutrition+Impairs+US+Childrens+Health+Behavior+Says+LSU+AgCenter+Food+and+Nutrition+Expert.htm
Even closer to home, in 2011 32% of the children in Phoenix, Arizona lived in poverty. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/43-children-in-poverty?loc=1&loct=2#ranking/3/any/true/867/any/322
Jesus teaches the disciples and us to pray to God, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Give us this day our daily bread.” He also teaches us to sell our possessions (our surplus) and give alms to be sure all of God’s children receive their daily bread. When we align our will with God’s will, the kindgom is come and we participate in God’s “good pleasure.”
** Image "Daily Bread" by Reggie Duffie