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ByziMom Considers: The Parable of the Farmer’s Barn

The 26th Sunday After Pentecost
From a Mom's Perspective

Luke 12: 16-21 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”


About this time every year, I eagerly await the arrival of my favorite seed catalogs. I sit in my favorite chair with my favorite hot cup of deliciousness and dream about what these beautiful, bountiful, gorgeously refreshing plants will look like in my garden after the coming winter passes. I try to grow more and more vegetation in the space I have allotted for it on our property, staggering plantings and growing more vertically. When spring finally arrives, I will forage for mushrooms, wild greens, and berries of all kinds too, and when I get a surplus, I will put them up in our freezers or cans to feed my family. How I love to hear the sound of popping canning lids! How wonderful it is to open a jar of summer-ripened tomatoes or fresh, canned peaches when there is snow on the ground! Yes, I have built bigger "barns" in my pantry closets and basement storage for my bountiful harvests too, so at first glance, this passage hits me where I live. But when I read about the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31, scripture tells me this kind of resourcefulness is supposed to be a good thing. Right?

When I look more closely at today's passage, I note that Christ doesn't scold the farmer because he was a good steward of his earthly resources but because he was a poor steward of his spiritual ones. When life was good and his barns were full, He didn't once thank God for it. He only hoarded it away for himself and began to celebrate as though the gifts of the Earth belonged to him alone. You see, often when times are good, we don't think to call upon God so much.

The passage says that he tore down his older barns and built bigger ones for himself in which to keep his newfound wealth. Soon afterward, he died, leaving those enormous storehouses full but with no purpose. While resting on his laurels and living richly by himself, he neglected to share his wealth with God.

So, how can I be rich toward God? What would He want with my surplus goods? Of course, He does not need grain and vegetables, but others here in my earthly company just might. I am reminded of the scriptural account of the final judgment where Jesus tells those on His right that as long as they give to the least of their brethren, they give to Him.

So what else is it that God could possibly want me to share with Him? I must remember to thank Him sufficiently for the riches of the Earth and the blessings He provides, especially the wild mushrooms. It was a great mushroom year this year. (Thank you, God!) I have a great patch of chanterelles beneath the oaks along the side of the house. They are easy to find every year, but honey mushrooms are more challenging. I went looking one day with my youngest daughter, who just began college studies this past fall. She is growing so fast and will soon be on her own. We walked and talked, stumbling through the trees behind the house in search of the forest treasures. She asked me what I thought of her new friends and the new career path she decided to take. She's chosen such a challenging but compassionate mission for her life's work, and I am so proud of her, and I told her so. I am so blessed that my children seek my counsel and share the unfolding of their lives with their father and me, and I am overjoyed. (For such riches as this, I thank you, God!!)

We had such a wonderful time together, and although we found only a few mushrooms, we gathered an abundance of treasure that day which I will hold in the ever-growing storehouse of my heart. Living out my vocation as a mother in accord with His will for me and the glory of the Kingdom, recognizing that this is His plan, and granting Him my fullest cooperation, are precisely the kind of treasures that can help me become rich toward God. As long as my heart is filled before my pantry, I think I'll be ok.

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