Then he told them a parable:
The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”
So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.
[Luke 12: 16–21]
This parable often makes people feel very uncomfortable. We live in a country where what I earn is mine by right; I have a right to it, to keep it and if I’ve worked hard, I have a right to enjoy it. We have a very self-centred view of our world. I hear it often: “I’ve worked all my life, I want to relax and enjoy myself now, I’ve earned it”. The parable reminds us that we could have everything and keep it to ourselves, but we don’t have control over the one thing that matters most: our life.
However, in Africa there is a different way of looking at the world. Their attitude is: “I work hard so that others can live, we share all we have, it’s not mine, it’s ours”. These two views have been clear during the last months: countries that are focused on self struggle with rules that are for the common good, whereas those which are community-focused do so willingly to help others.
We demonstrated that we too are capable of this at the start of the pandemic: we stayed at home, we cared for neighbours, and many are still sticking to the rules. However, some have stopped worrying about the community and begun to focus only on themselves, their family, and what they need. When you are losing a job or a home, and struggling to survive, it is understandable, especially as we don’t care for others in the way they do in Africa.
we all see the world in different ways;
we all see our lives differently –
yet all we have is a gift from you.
Help us to learn to share it,
to be generous and caring of others.