“For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15b) His miniature hands were perfectly empty when he emerged into our world.
Our grandson Liam drew his first breath this week, showed us his beautiful face and form, and captured our hearts the moment we saw him cocooned in the safety of his mother’s arms. His delicate hands with their pink nails and softest skin were empty; he came clutching nothing in his tiny grasp.
They all come that way. Even Prince George, in his regal birthing suite in St. Mary’s Hospital in London amidst a frenzy of paparazzi, brought no jewels with him. Every one enters planet Earth as Job describes: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return” (Job 1:21). Every prince and pauper and precious child enters with nothing in his or her palms.
We leave that same way, too. Even Steve Jobs and President John Kennedy were laid to rest with bare hands, even though they had spent their days accumulating wealth, power, and significance. At the height of their careers their hands were full to the brim, but the biographical documentaries depicting their world‐renowned lives tragically attest that they were consumed with laying up for themselves “treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy…” (Matthew 6:19)
Jesus calls such efforts absolute foolishness. In the parable of the rich farmer who is mesmerized by his own ability to accumulate wealth, the Lord declares this stern warning: “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20‐21).
Earlier in the passage, Jesus cautions, “Take care and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Some spend their days being “rich toward God,” and others are primarily rich toward themselves. One group is mesmerized by an “abundance of possessions,” whereas others are storing treasures moths will never consume and rust can never deteriorate.
Let our hands open in worship, extend in blessings, and reach to ease another’s load. May we have palms that project treasures heavenward, fingers that fly to do the Master’s bidding, and arms the Lord can use for his work. Until our last breath, until our empty hands lay folded on our chest, may our attention be absorbed with accumulating what he holds dear.