Friday, August 02, 2013

Saying "Open Sesame" to God's Treasure

In an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, called “Ali Baba Bunny”, there are magic words that when spoken opens a cave filled with piles and piles of golden treasure. The magic words are…(see if anyone knows it) Open Sesame! In the cartoon, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are on their way to vacation when they stumble upon a cave filled with buried treasure. Bugs Bunny just wants to head for the beach, but Daffy loses control and begins to collect all of the treasure for himself. His famous words go something like this, “Oh boy! I’m rich! I’m independent! I’m socially secure! I’m rich, I’m rich, I’m rich!” 

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No matter how Bugs tries to convince Daffy that they beach is waiting and that they shouldn't bother with the treasure, Daffy become more and more focused, greedy and disengaged from his friend and their plans. Nothing can distract Daffy from the golden treasure. Not Bugs, a magical genie or the consequences of disrupting the treasure that really didn't belong to him in the first place.

In the gospel this week (Luke 12:13-21), we find a parable of a man so wealthy that it becomes necessary for him to build bigger barns to hold his possessions. This man, like the self-proclaimed greedy duck Daffy, is: preoccupied with possessions. His security is found in his own self- sufficiency, greed, maximizing his own pleasure, he never considers sharing with others, manages his life in a way that looks as if he has no need for God and acts as there is no God at all. To be true, the treasure of this wealthy man really did not belong to him. Yes, the money was the result of a good crop on property he owned – but the abundant crop came from God. The man forgot God’s blessing, forgot about how he may help others with that blessing and hoarded the treasure for himself. The wealthy man said, “Open sesame” to his treasure, and “Close sesame” to God. When the day comes for the wealthy man to, “eat, drink and be merry”, he finds that that day won’t be coming. He will die and he won’t be able to take his barns with him. His treasure will end up in the hands of someone else.

Our things can trick us into believing that we are independent and that material treasure makes us whole. Things can sometimes become more important than people, make us feel, “socially secure”, and make us forget our need for God. In life there seem to be two extremes – people who have barns filled with treasure, and people without a barn. This contrast can cause us to say “Close Sesame” on whatever material treasure we have. The gospel reminds us that God’s treasure is the only kind that goes past this world and that our earthy blessings are better when we share them with others – even if we think what we have doesn't seem like treasure to us.

Rebecca Sutton Program Coordinator of Global Women’s Exchange wrote the following prayer for the NY State Labor-Religion Coalition’s seventh annual 40-hour fast as a means of expressing the importance of sharing earthly treasure. This prayer is a challenge to say “Open sesame” for the daily needs of our neighbors. We may not think what we have is treasure at all, but with a little buffing from God – we might just be surprised what we discover.

This week at Vacation Bible School we will be saying “Open sesame” to the children of our community and sharing some big treasure – God’s love! As we take steps throughout the week on this Amazing Desert Journey, please join us in prayer, songs, games, snacks, Bible study and in mission. This year the money we collect in VBS offering will go to purchase filled back-to-school backpacks for 30 5-7 year old children in the JNP summer camping program. Due to changes in resources and the wrap up of the JNP programs, the Shared Lutheran community is joining together through VBS to collect funds, washable markers, color pencils, and pencil top erasers to meet this local need. While you might not look at back-to-school-backpacks as treasure; the children who receive them might disagree.
We can choose to on to our little treasures, or we can gather them together to make God’s abundant love become a reality for the children that attend VBS as well as the ones that will receive these backpacks.

Treasure can be hidden away in a genie guarded cave, like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck discovered and the bigger, better barns built by the wealthy man in our parable – but treasure shared is a better choice for the journey ahead. Let’s walk, pray, give, and bless others in God’s abundant caravan – for the journey is long and we need to help each other.

Come with me for the journey is long; come with me for the journey is long. Come with me for the journey is long; come with me for the journey is long.
The journey, the journey, the journey, the journey is long. The journey, the journey, the journey, the journey is long. The journey, the journey, the journey, the journey is long. The journey, the journey, the journey, the journey is long.

So what magic words do you think we should say with our actions at VBS this week? “Closed Sesame” or “Open Sesame”? By God’s grace may our hearts be opened to see and share the treasure that only comes through Jesus Christ out Lord and Savior.

Amen – and “Open Sesame!”

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