Bigger Barns
Or
Bigger Hearts?

-Fr. Matthew
Brumleve

This is a story about a parable Jesus told and about a brother and sister named Will and Jessica.
One day Jessica and Will came home from school hungry and wanted a snack. Their mother had baked a pie earlier in the week and there was just enough left for each of them to have a slice.
“Let’s have a piece of pie,” suggested Will.
“I’ll get the pie while you get us each a glass of milk,” he said to his sister.
When Will sliced the pie, it turned out that one piece was slightly larger than the other piece. . .
Jessica poured each of them a glass of milk and sat down at the table. When Will brought the two pieces of pie over from the counter, he placed the smaller piece in front of Jessica and kept the larger piece for himself.
“Wait a minute,” cried Jessica. “Look what you’ve done – you gave me the smaller slice of pie and kept the larger piece for yourself. I don’t think that’s very fair.”
“Well how would you have done it?” Will asked.
“If I were serving the pie,” said Jessica, “I would have been generous and given you the larger slice and kept the smaller one for myself.”
“Well, what are you complaining about then?” Will said. “That’s exactly what just happened – you got the smaller piece, and I got the larger piece – so thank you for your generosity!”
They both kind of looked at each other and then began to giggle . . . but most of all, they began to dig into their piece of pie!

We might think the story rather funny ourselves – but selfishness and greed and being generous and sharing – are all very serious topics. . . Every day, we see people who not only want the biggest slice of pie for themselves – they want it all!! And that’s what Jesus told a story about, a parable about – in today’s Gospel.

The man in Jesus’s story was very rich. He had a large, fertile farm which produced very good crops.
“What should I do?” The man asked himself. “I have such a large harvest that I don’t have room in my barns to store all of it.”
So what did the man do? You know he could have shared some of what he had with those who did not have very much. . . but is that what he did??
No, instead he said, “I will just build bigger barns so I can keep everything for myself.” Then he kicked back, thinking he had plenty of everything. He ate, drank, and was merry. . .
And much like the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas many years ago – the man’s heart shrunk in size. . .

And God had other plans, for this man with the small heart: God said to the rich man, “You fool! You will die this very night – -then who is going to get everything??”
God is certainly good and has given most of us — more than we need.
The question is: what will we do with what God has given us?

Will we share it with those who don’t have as much as we do – allowing our hearts to grow in size — or will we greedily keep it for ourselves – so that our hearts shrivel up to the size of a peanut?
Remember the warning that Jesus gave to the listeners of his story: “Watch out! Be on you guard against all kinds of greed.”

So are we going to just have bigger barns in our lives – or are we going to have bigger hearts: hearts that grow and expand – because of our generosity??
Generosity may well be the most natural outward sign of an inner attitude of compassion and loving kindness.

And, as the rich man in Jesus’ story shows us – we cannot do an act of kindness too soon – because we never know when it will be too late. . .

And so we pray: Loving God, you have blessed most of us with more than we need. Help us to be generous and to share with those who may not have as much. This we ask through Christ our Lord. AMEN!