Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pentecost 11 - Proper 13

Proper 13
31 July 2016
Luke 12:13-21
The parable of the rich fool

Jesus said, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” If it does not consist of material goods. Of what does life consist? Most people feel that money is the key to real living. After winning the lottery, a woman once exclaimed, “Now I’m going to start living!” People need to know what makes life worthwhile.

O God, the Protector of all who trust in You, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy, increase and multiply Your mercy on us that with You as our Ruler and Guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Possessed by one’s possessions

We need to have a balance in life. We need to learn how to handle our possessions so that our possessions will not handle us. Jesus is not condemning possessions. There is no virtue in being poor, needy, or devoid of material needs. It is a matter of keeping perspective. Do you possess your possessions? Or, do your possessions control you? Are you a slave to material goods? It is not a question of being rich or having fabulous homes, expensive jewelry, and having a high income. It is not only the super – rich who can become obsessed with possessions. Even those of modest means can become enslaved to their possessions – No matter how many or how few they may be. To be possessed by your possessions means.

1. You are greedy for possessions. "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." V. 15

A. Can you handle success? Can you handle wealth? Most people who strike it rich winning the lottery are broke within five to seven years. It wasn’t the money per se. It was their priorities. It was their attitude toward it. Your life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions. We live in a consumed consumer society that shouts at us every day saying, “You need more of this, you won’t be happy without that, you need to look this way, and have these things in order to be accepted, respected and valued by others.” The truth of the matter is this; the things of this world are passing away and only the things of eternity last forever.

B. Can you remember what you received for Christmas when you were seven? So why do you think that your children will be scared for life if they don’t have the latest thing? Remember that day in your life. At the time, what you received might have been the most wonderful thing in the world. Now. Looking back. And reflecting. You now come to realize that what was truly important was having the people who mattered most in your life with you.

2. To be possessed by your possessions means you never get enough possessions. “He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'” V. 17

A. In just a few weeks it will be here, once again, college move- in day. It’s amazing how much “stuff” an 18-year old can cram into a dorm room! What is amazing to me and I see it each year we take our children and their “stuff” back to campus is those students who arrive in a big honking’ SUV pulling a U-Haul which is bigger than the dorm room itself! And remember this student will have a roommate who has come with all of his stuff as well.

B. We can never be satisfied because we always want more. You receive an e-mail from a Mr. Abu-Bakr in Nigeria. He claimed to be the friend to the son of the late senator of Nigeria. You were recommended to him as an honest and reliable person. To whom he can entrust a sum of money. He explains ~ the son of the late senator is sending $22 million dollars out of the country. For your help he will give you 20% of the total. He is confident you would not keep all of the money. Like someone in Germany did a year ago. He asked you to send him your address, fax and phone number, and bank account number. He assures you of privacy. He hoped to hear from you immediately. You don't get something for nothing. We all know that. But why do so many fall for such a scam? We are all tempted by greed.

C. One author put it this way. “If you look carefully you will see that there is one thing and only one thing that cause unhappiness. The name of that thing is Attachment. What is an attachment? An emotional state of clinging caused by the belief that without some particular thing or some person you cannot be happy... Here is a mistake that most people make in their relationships with others. They try to build a steady nesting place in the ever-moving stream of life.” [1]

3. To be possessed by your possessions means you trust your possessions to give the good life. “And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." V. 19

A. Greed seeks worldly things, which must not be equated with true "living”. We stumble when material possessions become a substitute for the proper object of a person's search and worship--God. Therefore, greed . . . is idolatry!

God addresses the man on his own pragmatic terms. He is dealing not with matters of the kingdom or of life beyond death, but with the question of the disposition of his possessions. What will happen to all my stuff? This underscores the fact that in the end he will have to "leave it all." Then it will be someone else’s problem. Walk into any antique shop. It is filled with other people’s stuff. You will never see a U-Haul following a hearse.

Solomon reminds us of this reality in the book of Ecclesiastes. “I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.” - Ecclesiastes 2:18-19

B. Since you can’t take it with you. Since things will not bring eternal happiness. We trust in that one thing needful. The only thing that can cause true contentment and joy, which is the person Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Contentment, joy, peace, happiness is not found in the amount and the value of your possessions but in knowing Jesus Christ. Trust not in princes. They are but mortal. Look to Christ. Where He may be found. There and there alone will we find lasting peace and joy.

Under Jesus’ protection and by His gifts you can experience the best life can offer. Jesus offers a completely new meaning to living. He provides full satisfaction and perfect guidance. He is your sufficiency. With Him, there is both peace and contentment.

Words –1,270
Passive Sentences –7%
Readability –80.4
Reading level – 4.8

[1]Anthony de Mello's 'The Way to Love.'

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