By: Emily Miller
Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:16-21
I laugh into my coffee. I had read this passage at least a dozen times. I had always sagely nodded along, shaking my head at all the people trying to get enough stuff to be happy. This morning I saw myself in the parable. It was very sad, and a little funny.
It’s been a busy year. 2019 ended with a 3-week-long flu and 2020 began with house hunting. I obsessively researched mortgage loans, dragged my very patient real estate agent to 28 houses, made an offer, and moved in the day after we closed.
It was grand and exhausting. We spent a few days without internet, narrowly avoided our water being turned off, and – just as things settled down – my one-year-old developed a wheeze and we stayed the night in a hospital.
As the days raced by my thoughts raced along: “Once we’re moved, then I’ll rest. Once I get some sleep, then I’ll have energy. Once the kids stop yelling at me, then I’ll be able to think.”
“Once I build enough barns then I’ll rest.”
I lean back in my chair, remembering:
15-year-old Emily: “Once I’m grown up then I’ll know what I’m doing.”
19-year-old Emily: “Once I make some friends then I’ll belong.”
21-year-old Emily: “Once I get married then I’ll feel loved.”
24-year-old Emily: “Once I have kids then I’ll know my purpose.”
27-year-old Emily: “Once I get used to my son’s disease then I’ll be happy.”
29-year-old Emily: “Once I have a house of my own then I’ll rest.”
I have continually been working towards the season when I’ll be at rest, content, savoring every moment, and not just running around trying to get through. Rest is always tantalizingly close and completely out of my reach. Once I attain one prerequisite, three more appear.
We own a house now. I love it. Perhaps I’ll even enjoy it when we’re completely unpacked, when the dishes are clean, when the children aren’t yelling, when the patio is finished, when the mortgage is paid off…
I have a family now. I love them. Perhaps I’ll even enjoy them when there’s a cure for cystic fibrosis, when my other son’s heart murmur goes away, when my husband is less tired…
Another scripture pierces through my thoughts. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Suddenly the parable transformed itself from a heavy burden (just pull yourself together, be at peace already, stop being so greedy!) into an offer, so sweet, that tears begin seeping down my face.
When I am rich towards God, Jesus is my peace. He becomes the Treasure of my heart and unlike all my other little treasures (friends, home, family, health, security, money, quiet, tranquility etc.) He can’t be taken from me. If my peace is Jesus than I don’t have to wait for circumstances to be joyful, peaceful, and at rest. I can just go ahead and be those things whether my morning starts with my candles and coffee or in a hospital room.
My quiet time is wildly beneficial to living this offer out. These quiet moments help me remember things I too easily forget. God’s Word is truly living and active, I’ve read the Bible over 15 times now and somehow its always new to me: showing me dangerous sin, setting me back on course, and rooting me in the amazing love of Jesus.
Since writing this the world has been turned on its head by the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting quarantines, struggling economies, and overwhelming uncertainty. There’s a lot of opportunity to fear and with it comes the opportunity to plant our peace in the Prince of Peace Himself, build our treasure in the Kingdom unaffected by the global economy, and be whole even if we’re overtaken by disease.
I feel like I’ve found with Paul the secret of contentment and I would like to grab your hand, friend, and beg you to be happy with me. Let’s not be foolish and chase after things that we will lose. Let’s be rich towards God. Let’s sing and remember:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.
Emily is a mother of two young children and has little time for much else. She began a daily quiet time at age thirteen, and her relationship with Jesus has remained a constant for Emily as she went from being a missionary kid in Mongolia, to working as a barista in Oregon, to marrying and starting a family in Florida. Emily enjoys writing poetry, dancing while doing housework, watching storms, and laughing at her husband, children, and herself.