Giving Alms

Luke 12:33-34
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

What is truly valuable to us?  If we could strip down our lives to the bare essentials, those things that mattered most, what kinds of things would remain?  Is it people and relationships?  Is it our life in the Lord?  Is it, perhaps, a bunch of stuff that we feel we can’t do without?  Possessions and worldly goods shouldn’t have such a strong hold on us.  They are so disposable, after all.  But sometimes it seems like we just can’t let go.  And even as our basements and our closets and our homes are filled with stuff, we just can’t help wanting to accumulate even more.

But why are we hoarding stuff just to have stuff we can never use, like the rich man in Jesus’ parable who needed to build bigger barns to hold it all?  Wouldn’t it be better to do good with what God has blessed us with?  Maybe God has given us some of the things we have not to keep, but to use, to give, to spend on others.  Maybe we’ve been too focused on accumulating wealth for ourselves and not enough on accumulating heavenly treasure.  Maybe we’ve gotten a little too caught up in our pursuit of material things and need to re-evaluate what is really important in life.

There are needy people all around us—in the sense that there are people who have needs that we can easily meet.  There are those who would value very much those things that we have in excess.  Don’t we have a little extra we can share with someone who has nothing?  Can’t we part with something we don’t really need or do without just to make a huge difference for someone else?  It’s really all about perspective.  Jesus wanted the people to see that there are more important things than what we have in our barns.  True treasure cannot be stored in moneybags or be taken from us.  But those things we fight so hard to have can be so easily lost or destroyed.

Are we willing to dig into our stockpiles and give alms to those around us?  Are we willing to be a blessing instead of a miser?  Let’s not let opportunities go to waste to be used by God to give to others.  Let’s be generous instead of stingy.  Let’s not allow the allure of stuff to hold us captive, but seek ever more the heavenly treasure that can last.  Let’s not allow our hearts to be so filled with greed or lust for more that there is no room for goodness or kindness or love to dwell within us.

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