Summer for most people means time of vacations. All the year round we had been struggling and working hard, now it really is high time to relax. We are worth of taking a vacation, aren’t we? We have been saving money, and now we can afford taking a holiday, nothing but enjoying ourselves not thinking of anything.
Well, and God? Do we also take vacations from God, or do we invite him to join us? What does God think of vacations?
In the Bible in chapter 12 of the Gospel of Luke Jesus tells the following parable:
And Jesus told them this parable: There was a rich man whose land yielded heavy crops. He debated with himself: "What am I to do? I have not the space to store my produce. This is what I will do," he said: "I will pull down my storehouses and build them bigger. I will collect in them all my corn and other goods, and then say to myself: Man, you have plenty of good things laid by, enough for many years: take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself." But God said to him, "You fool, this night you must surrender your life; you have made your money – who will get it now?" That is how it is with the man who amasses wealth for himself and remains a pauper in the sight of God.
What a story is this? Could it be that God does not want us take vacations? This man had obviously worked hard. So it really is his right to take some time off.
Yes, that would fully be accepted. God does not mind us working hard. God does not mind us taking a rest. On the contrary, he even requires that we take rests. Already almost at the beginning of the Bible in the book Exodus, chapter 12, verse 16 God says this:
And in the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you.
God indeed wants us to take rests, and he also considers it good when we take vacations.
So why then does Jesus say that this peasant would be a fool? Let us have a closer look at the text:
That year the peasant had an extremely rich harvest. Had that been fully his merit? Whoever has some knowledge in farming can tell you, that there are many fact that that have to come together in order to get a rich harvest. For sure first of all the peasant has to work hard. But then there is the weather. It may be cold or hot, rainy or dry, not to talk about noxious insects that may spoil a crop. On all this man does not have any influence.
Nowhere in the text do we read that it had come into the peasant’s mind to thank God for this real rich harvest.
What about you? For sure you are really doing well in your job. But isn’t there often that tiny little bit of good luck that counts concerning the success of a business? Is it good luck? Have you ever thought of thanking God after having completed a real successful business?
"Wait a minute," you might argue now, "when I am successful then it is fully because I am doing my job well." Is it really so?
There is a passage in the Bible where Jesus talked with Pilate shortly before he surrendered him to the Jewish officials to have him crucified. This is what Jesus said to Pilate:
"You would have no authority at all over me, if it had not been granted you from above." (John 19, 11)
God is the Creator of the whole universe. It is in his hands whether our work becomes successful or not. Yes, we shall be good workers. We may also be happy about this. But we shall not be selfish and forget God during our work.
This precisely had been the case with the rich peasant. He had been fully content with his work but he only looked at himself leant back and proudly said to himself: "I am really worth of taking a long vacation, because I did a real good job." Not with a single word did he mention any thanks to God.
Furthermore there is this serious sentence at the end: "This night you must surrender your life."
Have you ever reflected upon death? Perhaps you made a testament and wrote down precisely who will receive your belongings after you will have died. But what about you yourself? Where will you be going then? Will it be into a nothing? That would be really disastrous, wouldn’t it?
I do not know what your case will be like. I just definitely know what will happen to me. This Jesus, whom Pilate had surrendered to the Jewish authorities had been nailed to the cross. He died although he had never in his whole life done anything evil at all. He died for all the evil deeds of all mankind. This Jesus God had risen from the dead. This Jesus lives, and with Him all those people may live that accept this gift from Him. In the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John Jesus says that he would go and prepare a place for us. When I will die one day, and when I will have to stand in front of God the almighty Judge, then Jesus will be there, and he will say: "I already paid for this person. She may join me in paradise."
I am looking forward to this. But I also enjoy living here on earth. I am also looking forward to my vacation this summer. During vacation I have more time to study the World of God and to read in the Bible. This gives me great joy.
Perhaps during your vacation you will also find time to have a closer look at Jesus. I can’t imagine that you want to be such a fool as the rich peasant. So come on, read the Bible, especially the Gospels.