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Being a Good Neighbor (4 of 6)

Shane Willard

Page 2 of 7
So for a man to say "I thought to myself" - it tells you a lot, in Hebrew culture, about his attitude. He thought he was better than other people. He thought he could work it out on his own. This was not a common thought in those days;

“…and he said to himself, saying: what should I do, because I have no room in which to store all of my food? And he said: I'll do this - I'll pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and I'll store all my fruits and goods in there; and I will say to my soul: soul, you have many goods laid up through many years. Take ease, eat, drink and be merry.”

Remember that the Romans were ruling the world at this time, and collecting 80% taxes! People were losing family land, which had been in their family since the Book of Judges - they were taxing everything. Herod was coming in, and taxing things on top of things, on top of things, on top of things.

There were people struggling to even eat, and this one guy has more food than he knows what to do with, and he thinks to himself: “what should I do with all of my extra”? Everybody around him is starving, and he's going: I've got so much - I don't know what to do with it.

We look at that go: you idiot! What are you talking about? You don't know what to do with it? There is so much need around you! See, it's very easy for us to read over this, and as soon as we say "there's a certain rich man" we dismiss ourself, because we don't think we're rich; but the truth is, we're very rich.

If you drove here tonight, you're in the richest 8% of the whole world - even if you only own one car. If you own two cars, you're in the richest 2% of the whole world. If you own two cars, and you drive home to a house with a roof on it, you're in the richest 0.5% per cent of the whole world. We are the rich man!

This is a story about me, and you; and about a group of people, who are surrounded in the world by enormous need. The cry of the hungry is everywhere, and we have more money in our bank accounts than we know what to do with. We have plenty of food to eat, and instead of feeding other people, we build bigger barns, to horde things for ourselves; simply so that our soul can be at ease, and we know we're taken care of.

This is a story about us, and about our heart attitude - to think we're actually better than what we are; and it's a heart attitude that hordes, instead of gives. It's a heart attitude that says: all the needs of the hungry - that's not my problem, someone else will deal with that.

The truth of it is, to be leaders in God's biggest idea, we have to take the heart attitude that says: it IS my problem - that WE can bring heaven to earth by making it our problem.

Watch Jesus' response to him: “But God said to him: you fool!” The word ‘fool’ there is the word ‘offen’. It's the word we get the word 'diaphragm' from; where we get breath.

He's saying: you breathless one, you person with no effectiveness. You're living all to yourself - offen. To call someone "offen" meant: you have lost all of your effectiveness. It's not the same word for ‘idiot’ - it's offen. It means: your ability to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide has ceased. It's almost like you're dead already.

“You fool, this night your soul will be required of you. Then who shall all these things be, which you have prepared? So it is for he, who lays a treasure for himself, but is not rich towards God”.

So let's get real challenging tonight? This challenges all of us, because I'm rich, and you're rich. Can we just admit: we're all rich? We're just rich. Did you drive here tonight? Yes, you're rich, very rich. How many of you know homeless people here? So we're all going home to homes tonight, you're very rich, we're in the top 1% of the whole world.