Rockville, Trinity UMC
In Luke 12:13-15, someone from a crowd asks of Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus responded to him by asking, “Who made me the judge in this matter?” He then went on to tell the parable of the man, who in greed, tore down his barns to make bigger barns to store more grain and make more money, so he could eat, drink, and be merry, but died that night. Jesus was emphasizing the need to not worry about physical wants and needs, but lay your treasure in heaven, so your heart will be there also.
I believe you can tell a lot about people when they are caught in a traffic jam. Most people are obviously frustrated. They curse, honk horns, swerve in and out of slowly moving lanes in the hope of gaining a few seconds of time when they come to the end of the traffic jam. The inconvenience to their routine is almost unbearable. Yet there are a few who sing as they slowly inch their way through traffic. You glance over at them and watch their lips moving and their head swaying back and forth as they watch the road, hit the brake and tap the accelerator. Your first thought might be, are they all there? How can they be singing when everyone else around them is pounding the dashboard and muttering under their breath?
Over the years, I have seen a few truths that have crept into my consciousness. One is that people who are happy are people who have made the decision that this is the way that they want to live their lives. Yes, they have discovered a great secret, but one that is not difficult to find. It is our choice to be happy or to be glum. People who can sing in traffic, however, have taken another step beyond just acknowledging that happiness is a choice.
People who sing in cars while others are cursing are not happy because they are singing, they are singing so that they might become happy. Where others perceive obstacles, they discover possibilities and opportunities. Singing takes them there and carries them beyond the perceived into the possible. These people are driving from their hearts and their heads, a pretty good combination. Where others see only delay and frustration, they see blue skies. They possess an attitude that is hard to put down. It feels too good.
When the man in the crowd shouted out to Jesus to “make his brother share the inheritance,” this is an example of seeing only the unfairness of life brought on by family members and others who are close to us. It is something we can easily focus upon as well. He saw only the material implications of the situation, not the relationship possibilities that our Savior had on His mind. It was a matter of attitude. The man could choose to see greed and stinginess, or he could, by overcoming the perception of these things, discover the possibilities that fixing the relationship with his brother was more important and far more satisfying. We experience this in our lives every day. It is simply was a matter of opening our hearts to other, better opportunities.