- Ballynahinch Congregational
Living life at ground level
By Rev Victor Neill
‘Take heed and beware of covetousness (unhealthy longing for material things): for man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesseth' Luke 12 v 15
As we come to the end of this Harvest Thanksgiving time we are reminded of some vital truths in this parable which Jesus gave following a request to be involved in a family dispute over inheritance. If I were to give a title to this parable it would be ‘Living life at ground level!‘ which in essence means living life on an earthly plain – catering only for the physical and material things of life. Sadly, like the man in the parable there are many who live life at ground level and who regard increase in material things as a reward for hard work and another step towards fulfilment in life. Many like the man in the parable never think of giving thanks to the Lord - the Giver of all good gifts. We note also that those who live life at ground level never look upward for guidance/direction. This man made the decision to expand his farm without a thought of God, ‘This will I do: I will pull down my barns and build greater; and there I will bestow all my fruits and my goods‘ ( vs 18 ). It was all down to him 'I will‘ and certainly what is written in the book of Proverbs was far from his thinking ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths' ( Proverbs 3 v 6 ).
We also see that this man who lived life at ground level had a false, self-confidence for the future ‘And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much good laid up for many years; take thine ease eat drink and be merry.’ Truth is not one of us can guarantee ‘many years’ in fact we cannot even guarantee a day! James in his letter corrects wrong thinking on this issue and writes because of the fact we do not what will happen tomorrow we ought to say ‘if the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that‘ ( James 4 v 15 ). I am reminded of what was said by an acquaintance of a man, who had just died ‘If he was as well prepared for leaving as he was for staying – he’ll be a happy man!’ Sadly, the man in the parable had made much preparation for staying, but absolutely none for leaving and so God declared him to be a fool! ‘Thou fool this night shall thy soul be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou have provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich (is a pauper) toward God‘ ( vs 20 & 21 ). Had the man known that was his last day on earth, I am sure he would have acted differently.
So, the lesson is ‘Don’t live life at ground level – cater for the spiritual as well as the material! And most importantly make that preparation for eternity - for heaven now! Remember the words of the Lord Jesus on this matter, when he responded to the disciple’s question as to how one could find the way to heaven:
‘I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me‘ ( John 14 v 6 )