Pittsburgh Steelers All-World football player Troy Polamalu posted this on Facebook recently: “The bellies of the poor are much safer storerooms than barns.” Augustine on Luke 12. This led to the predictable parade of people bashing Polamalu for posting something from the Bible. Comments ranged from “He just lost a fan” to “Just play football Troy” to this long one: “if you truly believed this, you’d give all the salary you don’t absolutely need to survive to these unfortunate souls. but seeing as you undoubtedly have 7 figures sitting in your bank account, you’re being a hypocrit. don’t use Christ to make you look good. ugh” (Not that he needs defending, but rumor has it that Troy has pizzas delivered under the bridges to the homeless on occasion.)
If it’s too early in the morning for you to think, Augustine is saying that the man who built the barns to store (or hoard) his great harvest of food would have been better off feeding the poor with that great harvest. The man was storing up treasures on earth when he built a bigger barn. Giving much of it to the feed the poor would have been storing up treasures in heaven and a much better investment! And Troy is just reminding us not to forget the poor and the hungry.
But for me, today’s blog is not about feeding the poor. It’s about standing by your convictions. As a follower of Jesus, Troy Polamalu does not have to please all the people who are upset that he mentioned Luke 12. He only wants to please Jesus. It’s not that we intentionally go around ticking people off “in Jesus’ Name” (though sometimes it does seem like Jesus went around intentionally ticking people off – tell me He couldn’t have healed the guy the day BEFORE the Sabbath). We all have times we have to make a choice whether to compromise or whether to proclaim Jesus and His message. We sometimes have choices before us whether we please people or please Jesus.
I hesitate to even call this Polamalu pummelling persecution because someone is going to quit following a multimillionaire on Facebook, but sometimes there will be negative worldly consequences for standing for your convictions. Not to worry. Jesus said to expect that. I just can’t figure out how anyone could get mad over a celebrity reminding us to feed the poor.