One of the multitude said to him, ‘Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or divider (κριτὴν ἢ μεριστὴν) over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward/for God (εἰς θεὸν).’” (Lk 12: 13-21)

Why is Christ refusing to be “a judge or divider” over the two brothers? Because the desire to possess their inheritance, or “covetousness,” has obviously come between them. Brotherly love has taken a back seat to the love of money, so these two are incapable of “dividing” it peaceably amongst themselves; instead, it is “dividing” them.

Our Lord wants no part in that kind of self-focused pursuit of material possessions, which is closed in on ourselves, rather than open to others. While He does help me provide for my “daily bread,” He does not, of course, help me turn my financial concerns into a self-isolated and self-serving fortress, as did the rich man who built the large barns. So let me not be afraid of the vulnerabilities of a faith-inspired, God-focused attitude toward my financial situation, whatever it may be. Let me hand it over, once again, to His guidance and wisdom, in the Spirit of forgiveness of myself and others. “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Amen!