A couple weeks ago a Mets fan named Matt Murphy was at the Giants game when he was tackled, kicked, piled on, and bloodied. The police had to rush in and rescue him - all because he caught a common, ordinary, leather and yarn baseball. Of course, something had just happened to that ball to make it worth much more than the cost of its production. He was now holding on to history, the record-breaking home run ball and wasn't about to let go.
Of course we could find fault with the crazed people who piled on greedily grabbing, doing anything they could think to do to get it away from him. But then we'd have to find fault with ourselves. You see, our text has us looking at how we so often mis-value things. We act like our stuff is what life is all about and forget about the value of God. Read Luke 12:13-21.
Did you catch Jesus' warning? "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." The farmer in the story hadn't learned that lesson and saw all he had as nothing more than things that would serve him. It didn't cross his mind to thank God with his wealth or to serve others with it.
And Jesus warns us of the same thing. Think about it. How much extra storage space do you have in your home? Why not? Is it because you are like me and we just keep buying and taking and gathering more than we could ever effectively use, even more than we have room for? Jesus asks us, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" I guarantee you, if you ponder Jesus' words in our text long enough, God's law will lump you right in there with this foolish farmer.
But then, he pulls you right back out, because it's true - our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions. No matter how often we try to act like it does, God reminds us again today: Our life consists in our true riches, being rich in God. Sure the toys are nice - but our last verse mentions something so much nicer.
We are rich in God. And here we have it all - more peace than any millionaire could ever buy, more fulfillment than the most powerful CEO could achieve. Our peace and hope and joy are guaranteed - in God.
We have been made valuable. Christ paid more than any eBay auction could bring for Murphy's ball. He upped our value from trash to priceless, "not with gold or silver, but with his Holy precious blood and his innocent sufferings and death."
He said we were worth enough to him to leave his glorious heavenly home, where his glory could not be contained, and enter into a weak, frail, dying human body. He said we were worth enough to him to take the beatings and humiliation and the full payment we deserved for misplacing our values. His love has made us worth so much more. His cross has made us priceless. God has made us perfect.
Sure, Barry Bonds' bat made that innocent looking ball exceedingly valuable. But that's nothing - Jesus' sacrifice for us made us truly priceless. So let's remember each day that our value is not in our cars or homes or toys or collectibles. We are rich in God. Let's live like it.