This week we continue to look at our choices between wealth, time and God, with a further look at what the Bible has to say on the matter.
Jesus says something we all know, but sometimes find hard to put into practice:
“Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”
Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
(my italics) Luke 12:13-15
It’s hard isn’t it? R and I have just got a new TV – he won it through work, and it IS amazing! Should we not be pleased with it? Should we not have it? It depends whether its the TV that matters the most. Jesus goes on to say:
“Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops.He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Jesus doesn’t say we can’t have wealth, what he does say, is there really isn’t much point in any of it if we don’t have a rich relationship with God. And everything we have, everything we are, it flows through our relationship with Jesus. Its how the kingdom of heaven enters this world.
Everything belongs to God, everything flows through him. As it says in the Common Worship liturgy:
“Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour, and the majesty; for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.All things come from you, and of your own do we give you.”
And this isn’t a concept restricted to the new testament. It is a golden thread through all scripture, that we should put first in our lives a rich relationship with Jesus, on the understanding that everything belongs to him in the first place:
‘I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’
“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
This lent, lets ask ourselves – do we view all that we own as belonging to God? How do our actions reflect that? And, how are we actively growing a rich relationship with God?