Students sitting outside Bockman
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

A leader of one of the congregations in our synod called and wanted to talk with me. I was to be in his area the next week and agreed to stop by his house. When I drove up the driveway to his farm house I saw him building a large pole barn. I immediately thought about this parable, even though it was really too early in the season to be thinking about harvest. As is my nature, I had to chide him a bit about building a bigger barn, only to find out that he was actually expanding a low cost storage service for the farmers in the area and needed more space to accommodate his neighbors. My innate snarkyness didn't expect his intentions to be so altruistic. He had his mind on things above, but I hadn't allowed his motivations to be anything other than those of the rich man in the story, centered on greed.

God places people in our lives to teach us, give witness to the power of the Spirit, and show us that love of possessions will be a hindrance to following Jesus. The true challenge might be for us to accept their teaching and see them to be angels in our midst.

God of mercy, turn us from our inwardness and fixation on things we might try to own. Remind us that we leave this world with no more than we enter it, and all that we have to use in this life is on loan to us. Amen.

Rodger Prois
Bishop Western Iowa Synod, ELCA
Master of Divinity , 1993

Luke 12:13-21 (NRSV)

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me."
14 But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?"
15 And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."
16 Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly.
17 And he thought to himself, "What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?'
18 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.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.'
20 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?'
21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.