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Rich Toward God

Luke 12:21-28

Rev. Kurt Hering

Pentecost 11, Proper 13, series C
Christ Lutheran-Elkhart, and Faith Lutheran-Hugoton  
Kansas


right-click to download MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Jul 31, 2016 

Preaching to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas since February 8, 2015. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.

Those things that we spend 90%, if not 99.99999%, of our time, money, and effort on won’t do us any good in the end. They might not even do us any good before the end! With this in mind Jesus relates in the parable of the rich man and his store houses:

"But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'"So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:20-21

To hear the entire sermon as it was preached to the saints at Christ Lutheran-Elkhart, KS for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, "Rich Toward God," click on the audio link provided above. The sermon begins at 12:07.

Artwork: "Parable of the Rich Fool," traditional orthodox icon.

For those of you who prefer to read or read along while listening, the preaching manuscript the preaching manuscript follows below. .

Nota Bene: Sermons are meant to be heard. Bullet points in the manuscript are explained and filled out during the preaching, so you will need to listen to the audio file to get the full message.

Vanity! What a funny word. Vanity, vanity, vanity, vanity, vanity.

It is also a one word oxymoron. At the same time, vanity means both that which is most important to us and that which has no importance at all; to be full of oneself and empty of anything; to lay up treasure for oneself and lack the things of God.

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. Eccl 1:2 4

Those things that we spend 90%, if not 99.99999%, of our time, money, and effort on won’t do us any good in the end. They might not even do us any good before the end!

"But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'"So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."  Luke 12:20-21

It is tempting for the pastor to make this into a “stewardship” sermon – especially in hard times when offerings fall short of meeting bills and budget items that need to be taken care of in order to for a congregation to continue to function as a sanctuary for the baptized and an outpost for the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

But there is a greater purpose for doing so than simply to awaken and inspire you to greater and more faithful stewardship of your earthly blessings.

As with all Jesus’ parables, what is true of the earthly message is even more true of the spiritual message it is meant to carry with it.

If you think about it, who of us is not more concerned about taking our ease, eating, and drinking and having fun than about our life with God? Almost everybody when pressed would say that his spiritual life is more important than anything else. But I would ask you this – who of us here today does not spend ten times more of our time, money, and effort on fun, entertainment and worldly comfort than on seeking the things of God? Who spends more time in hearing, reading and praying God’s Word than on watching TV, playing games, and seeking recreation?

The fact that we people who can afford beautiful homes with every convenience, a vehicle for every person in the family, recreational vehicles and vacations, computers, cable/satelite/TiVo, are so reluctant in our earthly stewardship of the time, the ability, and the money with which our Lord has blessed us is symptomatic of problems far greater than stewardship of our earthly blessings.

"He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Luke 16:10 11

If we cannot trust the Lord to provide for our own physical welfare and pursuit of happiness any more than to devote to Him and His Church whatever time, money, and effort we have left after we do all the other things we desire and store up all the things we think we need – well, what does that say about where our faith really lies?

If we don’t think that our Lord provides these earthly things for the people He died to save, do we really believe He’ll just give us eternal life without our working, and scrimping and saving and striving and hoarding?

You were created to live forever. And make no mistake about it, you will – one way or the other. "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. Eccl 1:2 4

And make no mistake about this either, vanity hurts the one who is living the life of vanity most of all. All that stuff you are enjoying, all the fun you are having now, where will it be and what good will it do you even tomorrow? You’ll just have to get up in the morning and seek after it all over again like a gerbil on a wheel.

Sure God wants you to enjoy and employ the gifts of this world He has given you. But remember those “ ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” Luke 12:24-28

You dear children are the baptized of God. You have been buried into His death and raised to a new and better life – not a life of vanity that is here today and gone tomorrow, but a life of substance, of value, of benefit, now and forever -- a life that shows what vanity all those things which we value so highly and pursue so mightily in this world really are. For you have been given a life that abides in the glory of the very Son of God.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

For you Baptized into this faith and life have His never failing, always faithful promise that you will always be rich toward God – in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.



Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.



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