By the Voluntary Poverty of Christ,
We Enter the Kingdom of God
To love and trust in earthly wealth is vanity. For nothing of this earth will last forever, nor can any of it grant eternal life (Eccl. 5:10). But the one who trusts in God is “occupied with joy in his heart” and is able to sleep in peace, “whether he eats little or much,” because he knows that the “days of his life” are “the gift of God” (Eccl. 5:12, 18–20). The person who trusts in riches cannot sleep, because he “shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand” (Eccl. 5:15). Therefore, it is difficult “for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 20:23). Indeed, it is impossible for man, and yet, “All things are possible with God” (Mark 20:27). Thus, the Rich Man, Jesus Christ, has made Himself poor and has gone through “the eye of a needle,” through death and the grave, “to enter the kingdom of God” on our behalf (Mark 20:24–25). He is the “great High Priest who has passed through the heavens” (Heb 4:14), so that we may now enter His Sabbath rest by faith in His forgiveness (Heb. 4:3–9).
Collect for Pentecost 22—Lord, we pray that Your grace may always precede and follow us that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for deliverance from the love of money: Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have called us to be Your children and heirs of Your gracious promises in Christ Jesus. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may forsake all covetous desires and the inordinate love of riches. Deliver us from the pursuit of passing things that we may seek the kingdom of Your Son and trust in His righteousness and so find blessedness and peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayer for the proper use of wealth: Almighty God, all that we possess is from Your loving hand. Give us grace that we may honor You with all we own, always remembering the account we must one day give to Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Time in the Word
11–16 October 2021
Monday, 11 October 2021—Psalm 34:1–4; Antiphon, Psalm 34:18—The strange circumstances of this psalm are found in 1 Sam 21:10–15. David, in a moment of weakness of faith, had sought protection from Saul in a foreign king, rather than trusting in the LORD. When he realized his sin, he faked insanity and then wrote this psalm which proclaims the truth that true deliverance is to be found only in the LORD. Neither riches nor earthly power can deliver us from our circumstances, only the LORD.
Tuesday, 12 October 2021—Psalm 119:9–16—Psalm 119, the longest of the psalms, is a hymn of praise to the Word of God. This portion sings of the blessings of storing up God’s Word in our hearts. Oftentimes our children think it drudgery to memorize scripture passages; it is not until many years later that they recognize the blessing of knowing these nuggets of truth. We should all treasure the Word of God and delight in it as much as all riches.
Wednesday, 13 October 2021—Ecclesiastes 5:10–20—Many years ago, a reporter asked billionaire John D. Rockefeller, “How much is enough?” His famous reply: “Just a little bit more.” This passage from King Solomon, who possessed wealth of wisdom that surpassed his great wealth of riches, shows the futility of such thinking. Riches can be a blessing, but if they are allowed to control a person, they become a curse. Trusting in money more than in the One who provides the material blessings is idolatry.
Thursday, 14 October 2021—Hebrews 4:1–13—This portion of our reading through the book of Hebrews contains an exhortation and a warning.
We are exhorted to seek the true rest of the Lord, while warned not to make the mistake of the rebellious people of Israel, who hardened their hearts against the Lord, and did not enter into His rest.
Friday, 15 October 2021—Mark 10:23–31—Sunday’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s. After the rich young man went away sorrowful, Jesus takes the opportunity to educate His disciples in the barrier that great wealth poses to one’s salvation. The temptation is to trust in the riches, rather than the rest. In fact, it is impossible, not only for the wealthy, but for anyone to earn His salvation by any means, even good works. Who can be saved? they ask. Who, indeed? No can, if he relies on himself. It is only by God’s grace that anyone can be saved, for all things are possible with God.
Jesus predicts His trial, execution, and resurrection for the third time, while walking boldly to His death. Jesus goes to die the sinners' death, accepting the Law's penalty in our place. Faith looks to Christ crucified and risen and says, "for me!" Luther - "Who is this "me?" It is I, an accursed and damned sinner, who was so beloved by the Son of God that He gave Himself for me." (AE 26:176)
Saturday, 16 October 2021—Sunday’s hymn of the day is Jesus, Priceless Treasure (LSB #743). It is a great hymn of faith, trusting in Jesus in spite of all trials and tribulations, sadness and trouble. Written in 1641, it soon made its way into most hymnals, being paired with a strong melody, one of the finest German Lutheran chorales.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Riojas copyright © Higher Things
Lectionary summary on first page from LCMS Commission on Worship