Sunday, July 28, 2019

Proper 13 Series C

Proper 13 C
(July 31-August 6)

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12–14; 2:18–26
Colossians 3:1–11
Luke 12:13–21

O Lord, grant us wisdom to recognize the treasures You have stored up for us in heaven that we may never despair but always rejoice and be thankful for the riches of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever

Faith in Christ Is Rich toward God
Pr. Daniel J Brege

To live for earthly things “is vanity and a striving after wind,” and work that is driven by such vanity “is an unhappy business” (Eccl. 1:13–14). The man who lives like that has nothing to show for “all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun. … All his days are full of sorrow” (Eccl. 2:22–23). So, too, your “covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5), makes a god out of that which cannot give you life or happiness. For “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). But “Christ who is your life” (Col. 3:4), in giving you Himself, gives you all the wealth of heaven. Instead of striving to lay up treasures for yourself, be “rich toward God” in Him (Luke 12:21).

Sin is especially seen in selfishness.  As we worship and magnify self, God and our neighbor are pushed out of our lives. Thus they are not loved, and love is the fulfillment of the law.  Jesus thus warns in Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 12:13-21), ““Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness…”   Our self-worshiping lovelessness is clearly detected by the evidence of our covetous (greedy) hearts.

At first glance the parable of the wealthy farmer seems to have little meaning.  Every farmer wants his land to be productive, as was the case for the man in the parable. There is nothing inherently wrong with being wealthy; faithful Abraham and faithful Job are examples of wealthy Christians.  Additionally there is nothing wrong with building larger barns and there is nothing wrong with storing one’s goods in such barns.  It is not necessarily wrong to “eat, drink and be merry”, for this can even be something wonderful (Eccl. 8:15; Luke 15:23).

To understand the parable the context must be observed.  Preceding the parable Jesus states, “…one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Thus the parable teaches how easily one can be caught up in the wrong-headed thinking that life does consist in “my” possessions.  After the parable Jesus explains, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”  From the parable we realize that to be “rich toward God” does not mean having all kinds of money and things. Being “rich toward God” foundationally means having faith and trust in God.  Thus the man Jesus was rich toward God, having perfect faith/trust in the providence of His God and Father.  Such faith culminated in Jesus giving up all his possessions—even his life—ultimately dying on the cross.  Christians realize Christ did this to earn forgiveness—even for our sins of covetousness.  We are now “rich toward God” when we have (as a gift) a Christ-like faith/trust in God, with such trust in God including a repentant faith, a faith that, upon confessing sin, receives the forgiveness earned by Christ.

A second aspect of being “rich toward God” consists in our God-generated love for our neighbor.  The Lord Jesus had this wealth beyond measure as He gave His life as a ransom for even His enemies.  The wealthy farmer in the parable had none of this wealth; he was only rich toward self.  Jesus shows the omission of the farmer’s love toward his neighbor as He repeatedly uses the little word “my” in the parable.  The farmer confesses self:  “my crops”  “my barns” “my grain”  “my goods”.  Both faith in God the provider and the resultant love toward neighbor are absent in the “me-centered” rich man of the parable.  This lovelessness toward the neighbor is also conveyed by the little word “all”.  In his new barn the wealthy farmer says, “I will store all my grain and my goods.”  None of his wealth will go to his neighbor; it’s all mine!

Appropriately Jesus follows the parable with statements summarizing being “rich toward God”.  He first describes faith/trust in God the provider, climaxing with the salvation promise:  “Fear not, little flock, for it is our Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Secondly the Lord Jesus describes our love toward our neighbor:  “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.”  May the Spirit grant us grace to be “rich toward God”, trusting His temporal and eternal providence in Christ, and loving our neighbor with our God-given wealth.
The Parable of the Rich Fool

Luke 12:13 
Εἶπεν δέ τις ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου αὐτῷ• Διδάσκαλε, εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου μερίσασθαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ τὴν κληρονομίαν.
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

     -The man is expecting a certain outcome.

Luke 12:14 
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ• Ἄνθρωπε, τίς με κατέστησεν κριτὴν ἢ μεριστὴν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς;
But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

     - Jesus does not teach about the way, He is THE WAY - to reconcile and  become the mediator.

     -People want something from Jesus rather than Jesus Himself.

     - Do not worry what you will get from the dead guy rather, what will you do when you're the dead         guy?

Luke 12:15 
εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς• Ὁρᾶτε καὶ φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ πάσης πλεονεξίας, ὅτι οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν τινὶ ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτῷ.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

     - Not in the abundance of one's possessions does one's life exist.

     - Riches attract greed.

Luke 12:16 
εἶπεν δὲ παραβολὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς λέγων• Ἀνθρώπου τινὸς πλουσίου εὐφόρησεν ἡ χώρα.
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully,

Luke 12:17 
καὶ διελογίζετο ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων• Τί ποιήσω, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ συνάξω τοὺς καρπούς μου;
and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’

     -He argues within himself, a negative argument. He wants to keep it all form himself.

Luke 12:18 
καὶ εἶπεν• Τοῦτο ποιήσω• καθελῶ μου τὰς ἀποθήκας καὶ μείζονας οἰκοδομήσω, καὶ συνάξω ἐκεῖ πάντα ὸν σῖτον καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου,
And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

     - I will build even bigger barns.

Luke 12:19 
καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου• Ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά• ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου.
And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’

     - You can eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you live!

     - Ψυχή, -the whole person - body and soul.

     - See the temptation in the garden, "you will be like God"

Luke 12:20 
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ θεός• Ἄφρων, ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ τὴν ψυχήν σου ἀπαιτοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ• ἃ δὲ ἡτοίμασας, τίνι ἔσται;
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

     - On this night, your soul (all of you) will be demanded of you.

Luke 12:21 
οὕτως ὁ θησαυρίζων ἑαυτῷ καὶ μὴ εἰς θεὸν πλουτῶν.
So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.

     Where does God hide today? He hides in the neighbor.

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
LCMS lectionary summaries © 2016 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Collect for Proper 13 Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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