A captive of the material

Luke 12: 13 - 21

“. . . life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”


In my early years of ministry in Irvine I was visiting an elderly lady and we got talking about family.  After a while she invited me to lift up an ornament which was on display in the living room.  Then she invited me to look at the underside where I saw a sticker with someone’s name.  “I don’t want them to be squabbling over my stuff when its my time to go” she said, “I will decide who gets what!”


There are times in life, especially at a time of bereavement, when circumstances force us into recognising what is really important life.  We can end up looking at life and what we have and even who we are in quite different ways.  Yet, even in the face of death, the material can become quite divisive.  We don’t quite know the circumstances around the question from the man in this passage, but we do not that it was about the material.  We can assume that the father has died and, rather than mourning his passing and reflecting on life which many of us might do, he is thinking about what he can get.  What makes it even worse is that Jesus has just spoken about what is important and that is life, our lives.  We are of great value to God for we are “worth more than many sparrows” (12:7).


The pandemic and all that has come with it in the form of the dangers of the virus and the restrictions to protect us has been so difficult and challenging for all of us.  Difficult as it has been it has given us much food for thought.  Whether we have known the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loneliness of lockdown, the frustrations of being restricted in our travels we have been forced to think about what is important in life and who is important in life.  When we consider the “what” against the “who” then we start to get things into perspective which is what Jesus was trying to do with this man in the crowd.


Set free from the material doesn’t mean that it is unimportant but allows us to get life into the right perspective.  Looking at the whole of chapter up until verse 21 the focus is very much on the “who”.  The material is necessary in life but is not the most important.  Knowing who we have around us at the end of the day is key because God who lives in community as Father, Son and Holy Spirit has created us for community.


  • If you had a limited time to pack a bag because you’d have to leave your house and home, what would you take with you and why?  What is important to you in life?  Who is important  you?

Lord, help me to see the world through your eyes,

to understand anew what is important for life and who is important in life.

May your perspective prevail in my agenda helping to let go of what is excess that I might be

able to take hold of those around me and beyond me, walking hand in hand.