Fairmeadow Community Church of The Nazarene
July 31, 2022
- 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull 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, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” 22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the 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 can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry 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 clothed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.Enough?He was 46 years old. He had a lot to do, but he could barely get it done. He was preoccupied.Impatience and AnxietyA son wanting his inheritance now.Credit CardsA Vision of SuccessA banner year means bigger barns...Relax, eat, drink, be merry...What is your image of the good life? Is it carefree independence? Is it everything you ever wanted at your fingertips? Life about the here and now and what you want when you want it? Sounds good. But the thing is no matter how much you have you will still worry if it’s enough.Lance Armstrong was a champion cyclist who had amassed wealth. Famous art on the walls of a mansion. He was on top of the world until the day he was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly he realized this life he enjoyed so much could slip away much more quickly than he ever imagined. He shared in his book that he checked his accounts and he wasn’t sure it could be enough to pay for his treatments. He took some of the art down and tried to figure what he could get for it. If he sold it all would it be enough to save his life? Perhaps he had not valued life his life in the right ways. No matter how much he would acquire it might not be enough to redeem him. You could always want more security. But life is precious and things cannot secure it for us...A Vision of Ultimate RealityBut there is much more to think about. The condition of your soul matters so much more than your retirement plan...20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’Whether you are always fearing you won’t have enough to survive or whether you are always thinking you’ve got to acquire more, its a path that won’t take you home.Being rich before God is something different...NT-Wright--Jesus was coming with the message that God was changing all that. He wasn’t tightening up Israel’s defence of the Land; he was longing to shower grace and new life on people of every race and place. Israel, as far as he could see, was in danger of becoming like the man in the story who wanted the security of enough possessions to last him a long time. Societies and individuals alike can think themselves into this false position, to which the short answer is God’s: ‘You fool!’ Life isn’t like that. The kingdom of God isn’t like that.Be still and know that I am God...Whether its through social security or a pension or personal savings or the kindness of strangers and friends, however we make it through life God is the one who is holding us up, holding us together. If we live by faith that means we trust God to guide us and to provide for our needs. Worry and fear don’t need to drive our decisions. Neither do greed or selfishness.The Lesson of the RavenEven the creepiest bird can teach us a lot...24 Consider the 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 can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?Worrying won’t help us thrive. Worrying won’t increase our faith in God. Birds aren’t stupid. They know they can only do so much. But even with all their uncertainties we hear their songs in the morning and see them enjoy the wind as they soar. Maybe they’ve learned the secret.29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.Some things we don’t strive for and some others we can. When we strive to make things the sustenance of our lives we strive in vain.Seek after or strive for the kingdom of God. This means giving of our time and energy to value what God values. God values people above all else. Adults, youth, children. We find God’s greatest treasure when we find people. God cares about your life. He cares enough to provide for what you need. So don’t worry. Don’t worry so much about having enough. And don’t be greedy.Seek the kingdom. Give. Share. Be generous. Be loving. Invest in people.God is saying to us this morning: I’ve got your back. Trust me. So you can get on with living and loving, giving and growing. Because when you invest in people spiritually, when you give money to God off the top, give to those in need; when you serve the needs of others, when you teach children about the love of God, you are a blessing to others in ways you can’t imagine.But one of the best things is what happens to you. You begin to change. You become someone who is more that the sum of their accounts and achievements. You rise above worry and strife. You learn to care and to love.God will still bless you with true abundance. We can’t control life. We can’t cheat death. But living life as Jesus describes is living daily trusting and being formed by your faith. Now when you come to the end you won’t find yourself falling short. The grace of God will be holding you up. Just as it always has been...Let’s pray...
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