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How are we isolating ourselves?

This week we hear Jesus tell a parable about a person who uses all of their time and energy to hoard their crops and other possessions in enormous barns. Once the giant barns are built and filled to capacity with food and belongings, the man in the story says to his soul, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry." But in a twist of fate God chimes in immediately after and says, "You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" This parable follows an interaction that Jesus has with a person in the surrounding crowd wherein Jesus warns against greed and putting ones value in the abundance of possessions.

One of the striking things about the parable, though, is not just about how possessions cannot guarantee happiness, but about how lonely the man in the parable appears to be. He only ever talks to himself, he pulls down and builds the barn by himself, and God's final question ("And the things you've prepared, whose will they be?") seems to imply that the man has no one to inherit his belongings. Here, Jesus is not only showing that life is not found in one's abundance of possessions, but that the pursuit of security through that abundance will lead to isolation and loneliness. Jesus knows that greed painful not because it is inherently bad, but because it disconnects people from community, friends, family, and relationship.

This week, pay attention to how your pursuit of security, whether through possessions, power, or something else, is getting in the way of your relationships. What is making you feel disconnected from your community? Take some time to share your thoughts with the group.

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