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.’
Each morning, I drag myself sleepy-eyed to the end of the garden to let my hens out. Regardless of what sort of day they had yesterday, they rush into the garden ready to start a new day on a breakfast of corn.
If, later, they’re still hungry, they work hard at foraging. My six-foot fuschia has been plucked bare below the height of two feet, the height Miriam can jump to, as has a young apple tree. Every damp patch has been dug into by Glinda in search in search of worms. Sand, kale, and daddy-long-legs, are all considered great delicacies by Valhalla, while my toes, the fence post, and the window ledge have all been tested, and rejected, as potential food by Baloo. When the sun shines, they alternate between sunbathing and sitting in the shade; when it rains, they sit under the garden table. They begrudge neither, simply responding to their circumstances, unconcerned about the future. Smaller birds often come to share in their bounty. Sparrows take down-feathers to line their nests, and a wide range of garden birds steal their corn. The hens see them but make no effort to prevent this wholesale theft. Why would they?
Enjoying the world as they do, they set an excellent example to us as we rush through life trying to save time to pack in more. We even watch television programmes in which people rush to make the perfect eclair or refurbish community centres.
Regretting focusing too hard on “laying up” money is a very common deathbed regret, so much so that half a dozen people have been accredited with saying “Nobody on their deathbed has ever said “I wish I had spent more time at the office””. We know it was Jesus who said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Turning that around, what you put effort into shows what you treasure, so what have you treasured today that you might regret in the future?
God of yesterday, of today, and of tomorrow, help us to live in today, to move on from yesterday and to leave tomorrow in your hands. Open our eyes to your treasures guiding our values so that we may lay up what is good in your sight valuing what you value. Amen.
Helen Wilson, Local Preacher, South East Northumberland Ecumenical Area