Readings: August 4, 2013, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings from the Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
- Ecclesiastes 1; 2, 2: 21-23
Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That’s what the Quester says.] There’s nothing to anything—it’s all smoke.
That’s when I called it quits, gave up on anything that could be hoped for on this earth. What’s the point of working your fingers to the bone if you hand over what you worked for to someone who never lifted a finger for it? Smoke, that’s what it is. A bad business from start to finish. So what do you get from a life of hard labor? Pain and grief from dawn to dusk. Never a decent night’s rest. Nothing but smoke.
- Colossians 3:1-8
He Is Your Life
If you are serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, ‘act’ like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from ‘His’ perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your ‘real’ life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. ‘He’ is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you.
Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
- Luke 12:13-21
The Story of the Greedy Farmer
Someone out of the crowd said, “Teacher, order my brother to give me a fair share of the family inheritance.”
He replied, “Mister, what makes you think it’s any of my business to be a judge or mediator for you?”
Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”
Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’
“Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’
“That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.”