Father Rodney Torbic

November 20 / December 3, 2017

The Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 12:16-21

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (KJV)

The rich man had initial reasons for a certain amount of joy. His field had yielded plentifully. He had reason to give thanks to God for the abundance. The Holy Apostle Paul help us understand abundance.

The Apostle wrote: “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” (I Cor. 3:7) The rich man must have considered the abundant crop due to his own efforts and not from God.

How many people with talents achieve what they consider greatness are shortsighted and fail to recognize the blessings and talents they have come from God?

How many individuals achieve academic success, well-paid employment or astounding professional careers but give little credit to God? Christians rejoice when they see successful individuals give God the due credit.

Individuals using their voices for the glory of God in church are rich towards God. Individuals with artistic talents beautifying churches with iconography are rich towards God.

Financially successful individuals generous to the poor and for the benefit of God’s Holy Church are rich towards God. The rich man had much to begin with. He was identified as being rich before the current crops ripened.

Richness is often equated with financial standing. Talents from God have a market value. The way a person chooses to use personal talents reflects the person’s values and beliefs.

The decisions a person makes regarding use of personal wealth and resources are a measure of the person’s character. Christians are expected to continually evaluate all aspects of life to ensure they conform to the way of Christ.

Christians begin to grow when they recognize personal sin, repent, confess their sins and become united with Christ. Holy Confession and Holy Communion bring desired growth and unity with Christ.

The rich man had reason to be thankful even before his current crops grew. He had a greater amount of wealth than others. He would be able to endure to a greater degree than others with less wealth if the ground did not produce well.

Believers have a different way of viewing daily life than non-believers. Christians have a world-view founded in Christ. Christians evaluate daily occurrences based upon the teachings of Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ said: “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Mt. 6:22-23)

The rich man looked at the ground as it produced abundant crops and he began to make decisions. His decisions would affect more than just the disposition of his additional wealth created by the abundant crops.

The rich man was not satisfied with the amount of wealth he had. His initial thinking did not include sharing the additional wealth with the poor and needy. His initial thinking did not reflect consideration for individuals less fortunate.

His thinking was exclusively of himself. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus comes to mind. While alive, the rich man did not pay attention to poor Lazarus at his gate. (Lk. 16:19-31)

The rich man in the current Gospel felt he had a problem requiring a solution. He questioned himself about the disposition of the abundant crops. He did not question himself regarding the Kingdom of God.

He did not question himself regarding the salvation of his soul. He did not think about personal sinfulness. He did not consider the benefits of almsgiving. He did not shout out glory to God. He did not fall down and give thanks to God.

His thinking did not include calling together his servants or his employees and having them share in his increased wealth. He was shortsighted and thought only of himself.

A priest one time spoke about a piece of glass being clear and through it others can be seen. When silver is put to one side of the glass, it becomes a mirror and only the self is seen.

The rich man was blinded to others by his vision of the new crops. The prospect of increased personal profits limited his mindset. Imagine the joy the rich man could have shared with the less fortunate or his faithful servants or employees.

This is not a Gospel lesson for bashing the financially wealthy. People with meager financial incomes can be just as reckless and uncaring about the state of their souls.

This Gospel lesson is about keeping God first in the heart, mind and soul. The Lord Jesus Christ said: ”For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mt. 6:21)

November 20 / December 3, 2017.
The Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost .
Forefeast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple.
St. Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople.

Fr. Rodney Torbic

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