“Conversations with God”
16Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18Then 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. 19And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20But 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?’ 21So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
n today’s text Jesus’ tells the story of a man who had a great harvest, so he had a conversation with his inner self and decided to tear down his current barns and build bigger barns to store his great harvest. Adopting this strategy he could relax, eat, drink and be merry forever. But God joined into the conversation and said to him, “You fool! You are going to die tonight and whose will your full barns belong to then?”
God called this man a “fool.” God did not say that he was acting like a fool, or that his friends probably would think him a fool, but that he was intentionally playing the fool. Actually, his conversation with God was a conversation “TO” God. He was plotting his big adventure and as a second thought, perhaps bragging, decided to inform God how he was going to get rich quick and would not need God any longer.
The farmer with big plans had plotted his crazy idea without talking to his wife, friends, business associates or with God. He was jumping into a foolish plot to tear down perfectly good barns and build giant ones so that he could store more grain. Then he planned to retire and live off his savings for many years. A friend would probably have suggested that he keep the small barns in-tact and also build a few moderate barns and he would probably achieve the same results.
The most foolish part was that the newly rich man was presuming a long life for himself to eat drink and be merry; but he forgot about the Grim Reaper, Death. It seemed to be God’s plan that this farmer was about ready to go on to the afterlife instead of the life of ease and partying that the Nouveau-riche farmer desired having in this world.
The difference between true prayer and our own selfish plotting is that we often leave God out of the planning. We devise our own schemes and forget about God’s plan for the remainder of our lives.
The upside of this story is that we can change our plans as we begin God’s calling upon our life as we listen to His implanted word. Wisdom calls for us to seek God in prayer, which is our “Conversations with God.” Aristotle believed that the person that we talk to in our souls is God. The great theologian Karl Barth very much believed that humans cannot escape God and he could not conceive of a human who could escape God drawing them into an ongoing conversation. We can not wish God away. He is forever implanted in our minds/souls. For example, Barth felt that whenever the preached word is presented that the hearer is placed in a “Conversation with God.” Indeed, it is a miraculous thing that God regularly raises up the stumbling words of the preacher to make the words into The Living Word. A person who claims disbelief knows better. I have seen and felt God getting into the preached word during my years of preaching. It is a glorious experience to be used as a vessel through which God can reach souls.
A friend of mine inherited many millions. He had a lucrative law practice but now felt silly going to work. He prayed about what to do and in his conversation with God he decided that he would work less but work pro-bono. Sure, if people were sassy and unappreciative he would continue to charge huge sums of money, but he soon found many folks in need. He began to experience a great sense of blessing and was able to truly matter for the first time in his life.
Has it been our experience that many times we are able to work through problems as we talk with God, for he already knows what we need? God wants to enter into conversation with us and he has made it so easy. We simply begin to talk to the voice in our soul.
Most of us learned from our parents and Sunday School teachers that this inner conversation is our prayer life. Thus, this conversation has become a sacred place where we have sacred “Conversations with God.” After long years of dialogue with our Heavenly Father we reserve this part of our inner chat room for God only. We need no mediators, angels or saints. God wants to hear from us and he will pick up the conversation anytime. He never has a dead cell phone. His land line is never busy or out of order. God is anxiously waiting for your call. This conversation, prayer time, becomes our special way of keeping our wits about us. Big or small, God is ready to talk about any topic. He always has the right advice. He is even better than Dr. Phil. Our only hindrance is our unwillingness, or forgetfulness, in calling Him. It is up to us to make the call.
The great Christian Believers who have been my inspiration have been older brothers and sisters in Christ who have been people of prayer. Believers learn to depend on the Spirit of God at work with us. Secular people try to ignore God, but never ultimately can. They all begin to cry out in desperation in crisis. They call out for God and ask for things, favors, stuff, but never think to listen to His reply. They just wait and see if the asked for treat comes down the chimney. Don’t you know how tired even God must get to have to listen to folks ask for a string of miracles and then hang up the phone? God wants to talk with us about serious topics. The things we really need to hear the most: We can avoid becoming the type of person who Jesus called a fool if we will keep listening to the voice of God which has been implanted into our souls. This has been done for us so that we can tune into “God’s Conversations with Us.”
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor