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Monday, August 5, 2013

You can't take it with you

One of the most enduring arguments in Christendom has to do with wealth.  More specifically, what Jesus' attitude was towards wealth, and therefore how we should approach it.

Today's Gospel passage (Luke 12:13-21) tells the parable of a wealthy farmer whose crops produce excessively one year.  Without a thought of sharing with friends, family or the poor and needy, his solution is to tear down his barns and build new ones to store his excess.

Given that it is not a true story, it is almost comedic that despite his preparations, the man dies without ever enjoying his harvest.  You can't take it with you, indeed.

The problem is that Jesus is ambivalent about actual money.  On the one hand, he says that it is easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the kingdom of God, but he says elsewhere that the worker deserves his wages.

I don't think that Jesus felt wealth or prosperity were evil in and of themselves, and I think that we deserve to be proud of whatever we have accomplished in like, but I do think that in his talks about wealth, Jesus was forever trying to draw us past the distracting allure of money and possessions to a greater "gold".

We spend time investing our money, but how much time do we spend investing in our relationships with family?  Friends?  Colleagues?  Our church?  Our community?  With God?  Essentially, what are we doign to invest in our emotional and spiritual well-being?

I don't think Jesus would ever recommend that we NOT invest in our financial security, but if we have more than we can possible use at the moment, why not experience the joy of giving to others?  That is where the true "gold" lies.  Go out and mine it!

To download the podcast of my sermon, click here.

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