The village leader could offer no chairs for us to sit on nor any fan to refresh us, but what he had he shared. He ushered us onto mats in his thatched lean-to there to find refuge from the relentless attack of the Nigerien sun. He smiled, gesticulated and spoke words of greeting to us through the international worker that served as our guide. His heart was being softened by her gospel good works and because of his respect for her, he welcomed us.
From the circle of huts, he strutted out, leading us past the place where woman pound millet, to a simple building on stilts. Here was where he had stored the recent harvest. This granary was his treasure, he was proud of it, and he honoured us by revealing its location. This storehouse of grain was his livelihood, and not just his, but that of the community he served.
I came away from the village stirred within my spirit. Where was my treasure and who was it serving?
Are Bigger Barns Better?
Jesus tells a story of a rich man who built new storehouses for his grain (Lk 12:16-21). Unlike the Nigerien village leader, this man was focused only on his own benefits. He figured his surplus was just the ticket to take life easier. But true life is so much more than the ‘good’ life. In pursuing the latter, the man lost the former, he had been rich toward self but not toward God.
Am I Rich Toward God?
What does it mean to be rich toward God? Let’s be clear about one thing, the creator of heaven and earth does not need our money or our time or our talent. God never depends on handouts from us, he is never our debtor.
Being rich toward God is to align my treasures with his purposes. I don’t store my resources to finance the Kingdom of Self, I steward them to advance the Kingdom of God. In God’s Kingdom, the other is valuable and I must learn to care for them as I do myself. On that score, the village leader was spot on.
What is one thing you are ready to do that would align your treasures with God’s purposes?