And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.
I am preaching through a short series on parables and realize how many amazing ones are going to be missed…like this shockingly relevant and practical one from Luke 12 on the plans we make in life.
Back in the early 2000’s the Land Family Five took a glorious road trip from Houston to Colorado in our bright red Nissan Quest minivan. We wound our way up into the Rockies and were able to stay at Camp Redcloud outside Lake City from which we were able to have amazing outdoor adventures, like 4×4-ing up ridiculous mountain roads. After a week of encircling the Colorado Rockies we began our long journey back to Houston, leaving Grand Junction and heading East on I-70 toward Denver…and then it happened. The Quest went into a coma on top of a mountain pass. Just simply stopped with no sign of life. Like any “real man” (whatever that means) I got out, opened the hood and looked ignorantly at the engine (truly having no idea what I would be looking for). After sitting and wondering what to do for a while, I decided to just turn the key…and with utter shock, it started! Well that was good enough for me. I started to drive toward Denver, assuming Jesus raised my van from the dead. Until he didn’t. 10 minutes later the van, while heading downhill on the other side of a mountain pass, lost all power and life. I was going 70 mph with no power brakes or steering, with three kids in the back. I man-handled the van around some turns and down an exit ramp (I think it was Glenwood Springs). In the end, we found a really cool hotel where my wife and I had our own room (only time on the whole vacation) and our son Trevor stayed in the living room, which had a fireplace that turned on and off through a light switch, which I think was his favorite part of the whole vacation.
This place wasn’t even on our radar, and nobody could have predicted our van’s narcolepsy (it turns out it was an O2 thing since oxygen at 15,000 ft is a little different than oxygen levels in Houston). This was a “blind turn” — totally unexpected change of course. And it was great. As you can tell, Some 17 years later, it’s one of the most memorable parts of our entire trip. And I am certain that you all have so many of these stories. Some of them are great, while many of them are deeply sad, painful and faith-jarring.
- When your climb up the career ladder turns into a tumble.
- When your romantic journey turns into a bloody war.
- When your white-picket-fence life turns into Chernobyl.
- When your strong body begins to rebel.
So what do you do when your life gives you roller-coaster whiplash?
How do you respond when the steering wheel turns suddenly and you are headed into the unknown, unplanned, uncomfortable?
In the Luke 12 parable we find ourselves in this man that is living for himself and everything is going even better than planned….only to have the ultimate BlindTurn hit him square in the jaw. Even when we are doing our very best and trying to seek the mind of Christ, Our plans are not the same as His plans (Prov 16:9)…we get knocked around and try to find our bearings, wondering why “this” happened and where God is on this journey.
The disciples thought this very same thing:
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Can you imagine the shock of these disciples?! Can you imagine the BlindTurn Jesus was warning them about? This was absolute madness…so Peter understandably rebukes Jesus, telling him that this was ridiculous.
But on this side of the Cross, this was the most glorious blind turn imaginable. It’s going around a mountain curve only to come upon the greatest view with the greatest sunrise even known. It was scary as the car careens around the turn; and infinitely glorious on the other side.
And this is the life the Lord has promised, and offered. It’s frustrating and scary; oftentimes sad and disconcerting; oftentimes deeply dark; oftentimes full of tears of joy, or tears of sadness. And because the darkness of the Cross-turn turned into the even more shocking blind turn of the empty tomb, we can trust the TurnMaker. Even if it hurts and leaves me out of control, I can trust the One who has promised to keep me, hold me, go before and behind me, knit me, fulfill me and, when it is time, bring me home. This by no means makes the hard blind turns easy, but it certainly makes them hopeful…that they are turns to glory. Because that is what Jesus secured for me on the Cross, and out of the Tomb.