Weekly Devotional – Week of Monday, November 9, 2020
Opening Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer, Occasional Prayers)
Gracious God and most merciful Father, you have granted us the rich and precious jewel of your holy Word: Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues; grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
Bible Reading –Luke 12:13-21
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 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.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 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. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (English Standard Version)
Devotional – Rich in Love
“Money makes the world go round” is a well-known line from the 1960’s Broadway hit musical, Cabaret. I have never seen it, but that line is known in our culture and captures the mentality of our society. Most people believe money is the answer for every problem we face in life. Money is certainly important, which is evidenced by the fact that Jesus spoke of money often during his ministry here on earth.
In our reading from Luke 12, Jesus was asked to settle a dispute between two brothers. One brother believes he has been wronged by his sibling and asked Jesus to tell his brother to give him his half of their inheritance. We are not given any of the details of this dispute. We have no way of knowing who was in the wrong or in the right in this situation, but Jesus takes this as an opportunity to speak into our reliance of money and physical possessions in life. As was his usual custom, Jesus used a parable to do his teaching. You have read the parable for yourself so there is no need to recap it in detail. However, there are three errors that present themselves in this teaching in regards to our mentality about our money and resources.
Error #1 – Hoarding Our Possessions
The first error is the tendency to hoard our possessions. We have a mentality that believes the more money and possessions we have the more secure we will be in life. In this parable, Jesus makes very clear that all the money and possessions we have will ultimately do us no good in life. At some point we all die and we cannot take them with us. All the money and possessions we can accumulate in this life will be of no value in eternity.
Error #2 – Money and Possessions Buy Security
In this parable of the “Rich Fool”, Jesus makes it very clear that no amount of wealth in this life will guarantee a place with God in eternity. In life our wealth can buy many things, but our ultimate and eternal wellbeing it cannot.
Error #3 – Regarding Our Money and Possessions as our Own
The Biblical testimony is clear about all wealth and possessions. They are not our own. All that we have belongs to God and has graciously been provided by His Almighty Hand. When we think our wealth is solely our own and the work of our own hands, then hoarding and dependency of that wealth for our ultimate security becomes a great temptation.
Jesus concludes his teaching in verse 21 with these words, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich in God.” The final warning is clear. If we hoard our wealth, depend upon it for our ultimate security, and regard it as our own possession, then we will end up just like the “Rich Fool.” But life does not have to be that way for those who put their faith in God’s grace through His Son Jesus Christ.
There is a wealth that is far greater than any amount of money or possessions that we can accumulate in this life. A wealth that goes with us into eternal life. A richness that is in God’s love and mercy alone. When we have been saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are rich beyond measure. Our place in eternity has been bought and paid for in full by our Savior Jesus Christ.
When we receive the abundant riches of Christ in our lives, we are truly free. We are free to love God and our neighbors. We are free to use the resources that He has given us to serve God’s kingdom purposes in this world and to help our neighbors who are struggling in this life. Today let us all take some time to consider where we are in our mentality towards money and possessions. Let us confess the ways we have fallen into error and receive anew the riches of God’s grace in Jesus.
Closing Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer, Occasional Prayers)
O Lord Jesus Christ, you became poor for our sake that we might be made rich through your poverty. Thank you that by grace through faith we are rich towards God. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us freedom from the need to hoard, depend upon, and erroneously regard money and possession as our own. Allow us by your grace to be so filled with the riches of Christ that we may use our resources to love You and care for our neighbors. All this we ask in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.