[Rector]

Building bigger barns

 

It was one of those reality TV programs where the presenter goes to the home of some media personality and examines the garden and the architecture. He was speaking about all his gear, the accumulated debris of life. They were inspecting his own personal railway carriage dumped in his backyard. He made the comment that when he bought it he was working on the assumption that "the person with the most toys when they die, wins." Now that is a very insightful comment. To know that about yourself is perceptive indeed.

Building bigger barns, to "store up all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years, Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'" Building bigger barns, that is surely the lunacy of life in an affluent society, yet to a greater or lesser extent, it is the game we all play.

    I denied myself nothing my eyes desired,

    I refused my heart no pleasure.

    My heart took delight in all my work

    and this was the reward for all my labour.

    Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done

    and what I had toiled to achieve,

    everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecc.2:10-11.

"The bloke with the most toys when he dies, wins." I do like that line. Nothing wrong with toys, of course. Thinking you win by having them, that's the problem. The writer of Ecclesiastes rightly observes that "a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune." As Jesus put it, "this is how it will be with those who store up things for themselves, but are not rich toward God."