Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
Psalm 49: 1-12
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. AMEN.
I had a poster on my wall when I was a kid of Garfield the cat. Behind Garfield in the distance was a mansion, it had lots of new cars and toys – under the picture it read
“the one who dies with the most toys wins”
I don’t share this because I think that this is the lesson that Jesus wanted to teach us today– infact it is the complete opposite.
The gospel lesson is broken down into two distinct parts. The first part is someone from a crowd surrounding Jesus comes to him with a dispute about his families inheritance – the second part is a parable; a parable that Jesus tells in order to further explain his response to the crowd.
The dispute that is posed to Jesus was a simple one. There was a disagreement over the family inheritance – the one brother thought he deserved more of the inheritance. It was customary in the time of Jesus for all the inheritance to go to the eldest child. It was not necessary for the father to split up the inheritance between all his children, but it was allowed.
Jesus’ answer to this man is that Jesus is not here to cast judgment upon the situation. That was not Jesus’ mission here on Earth, he did not come to judge or condemn us – Jesus came to tell us about the wonderful love, grace and forgiveness of God. Jesus came to save us – not to judge us.
This person might of been thinking only about himself and how he wanted more, how he thought he was entitled to more. He wanted Jesus to turn around and tell him that he was right and that he deserves more. But Jesus instead turned around and said that life is not about possessions, it is not about the things we have, it is more than that, it is about God’s love for us and God will provide everything we need.
We have seen this throughout scriptures from Moses leading the Hebrew People through the red sea and God provided manna from Heaven to Jesus feeding the 5000 people on a hillside with two fish and five loaves of bread. God provided enough for all those people with some food left over
The need that the man has can be seen as greed and greed can never be satisfied He could inherit majority of his fathers possessions and he still may not be happy. When it comes to material things we may always want the newest and the latest– we have seen that even today.
This summer people were lining up –even camping overnight for the new iphone, and the new Harry Potter Book. Even the Philadelphia Mayor was in line at 3:00am to make sure he had the latest and the greatest.
Recently We saw a man get shot in Putnam, Connecticut because the robber wanted the new playstaion three.
All for the latest and greatest, not only to have them but to be the first to do so.
We see this pattern start in young children, when we take our children to Toys R Us it will not take long for that child to run from aisle to aisle wanting the any toy he can get his hands on
perhaps this comes from internal conditioning from outside forces.
However, if you take that same child to church on a Sunday, they may seem less comfortable than in the toys R us store. Our society has become a vast supermarket where we are trained in desire.
I want this, I want that.
We are being possessed by possessions and perhaps we are leading the race of owning the most toys.
Now I can’t stand up here without a confession. I too am a gadget geek, if I had the opportunity, I would have the iphone.
I have also fallen prey to J. K. rowlings Harry Potter……… And Sometimes I think my son’s head is going to explode from the excitement when he runs into a toys store. These feelings don’t make us a bad person, but it is what we do with the feelings and our possessions.
As we read the words of Jesus’ message in today’s gospel, questions do arise for me.
Do we want more than what we have?
Where do we place the value of our possessions?
These are some of the questions that I know would be hard for anyone to answer.
To start we can go back to the first of Ten Commandments, you should have no other Gods before me. The gospel today may expose our inner voice and that voice asks us to take a look at our own lives and determine where we place the value of our possessions.
What would our answer be?
But then– how do we become rich towards God instead of the world?
The first chapter of Lukes Gospel tells us “God has filled the hungry with good things…” Being rich towards God is being open to God’s love – to be hungry, needy, people – and letting God give us what we need rather than us trying to secure it on our own.
God has chosen us and we can celebrate that!!
Instead of us lining up outside Wal-mart, Borders, or the Apple store waiting for the newest and the latest to be released. Imagine a world where people are camping outside our church waiting for the doors to open on a Sunday morning
lining up to hear the good news of Christ!!
Even though products might run out, one day there may be no more playstations, or iphones left to buy, but God’s love will never run out for us. That’s a promise made to us in our baptism.
In Baptism we are claimed as daughters and sons of God through no effort of our own. We are baptized into the death and resurrection of the Lord who was crucified on the cross on our behalf.
He became poor to save us from sin, and death. He died so we could live abundantly.
The baptized life is a daily reminder of this love, and we continue to live in that love even as we chase the latest gadget released on the market. The daily waters of baptism is a chance for us to lose our old selves and to be reborn children of God. We are able to get rich by seeing our lives through God’s eyes.
And that can happen everyday. Martin Luther once said whenever we wash our face or take a shower we are reminded about our baptism it is a daily reminder which is a treasure
And we have the greatest treasure of all. We are loved and cherished by God and our inheritance is heaven and that cannot not be bought there is no waiting in line or camping over night for this because God’s arms are always open weather we have an iphone or not.
We do not have anything that can separate us from the love of God. God has given us everything we need and God has blessed us with all we have and God has made us who we are – and it is not the one who dies with the most toys who wins, it is the one who dies with the love of God in their life that wins and that is every single one of us.