Scripture: Luke 12:13-21; Deuteronomy 8:11-18
Our sermon series during the fall is called Parallax. A parallax is when two people are looking at the exact same thing, but they are seeing it in completely different ways. The goal of this series is to explore how this is true of the Bible. This Sunday, TC and I will be preaching about money and how God expects us to use our money. Do we gain money for ourselves or are we expected to give our money away?
In the text from Deuteronomy, God calls on us to gain money for ourselves. Deuteronomy was written as a review of the law laid out in the first books of the Torah. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that the Book of Deuteronomy was Israel’s introduction to the new life they would have to forge in Eretz Yisrael. They would plow, plant, and harvest. They would establish courts and governments. They would forge social relationships and the means to provide for and protect the needy and helpless. In this way, the Israelites have nothing and God is telling the Israelites that they are now free to gain for themselves so they can start a new life.
The scripture from Luke approaches money from a completely different vantage point. Jesus tells a parable about a rich man whose land produces abundant crops. It produces so much, that he eventually says, “I’m going to sit back and relax because I have nothing to worry about.” But rather than praise the rich man for making shrewd financial decisions, Jesus skewers him. In the parable, God says to the rich man, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”
In other words, that evening the rich man is going to die and, when you’re dead, your possessions aren’t going to do much good for you. Therefore, Jesus ends the parable by saying, “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” The implication behind this parable is that the accumulation of goods for yourself is contradictory to living a Godly life. So for Jesus, the commandment from Deuteronomy to not forget the Lord means using what you have to benefit those who have less, not to gain for yourself.
So the question we are trying to answer is to what degree are we allowed to gain wealth for ourselves versus giving our wealth away to those who are less fortunate? It should be a really good Sunday where we talk about the Stewardship of our resources. I hope this early introduction to winter hasn’t jarred you too much. We will have the church nice and warm for you on Sunday. Blessings to you and your family!