Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On Being Truly Rich

Luk 12:13  Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." 14  But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" 15  And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." 16  Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17  And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' 18  Then 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. 19  And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' 20  But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'21  So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."

The underlying ideology that informs much of our world’s culture is consumer capitalism. This results in never ending pursuit of possessions as the sign of achievement in life. In resisting this Jesus warns that “one's life does not consist in the abundance possessions." Instead we are invited to become “rich toward God” which Jesus calls “true riches” (Luke 16:11).  Later the Christian Church would refer to ‘true riches’ as being the kindness of God[1], the riches of His Glory[2], the riches of the knowledge of God[3],  the riches of God’s Grace[4] the spiritual inheritance of faith[5] and the assurance of faith[6]. All of these describe a relationship with our Creator which is greater than temporary material possessions. This is best summed up in the words of the writer of the First Letter to Timothy:

1Timothy 6:17  As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19  thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Ordinary 26 / Pentecost +19
48 God Supplies Our Every Need
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 292.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day

[1] Romans 2:4
[2] Rom 9:23 Eph 3:16 Phil 4:19 Col 1:27
[3] Rom 11:23
[4] Eph 1:7 & 2:7
[5] Eph 1:18
[6] Colossians 2:2

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