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What makes you rich?

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What makes you rich?

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How to be Rich

Would you rather always lose or never play?
Would you rather always wear earmuffs or a nose plug?
Would you rather always win pie-eating contests or always win wheelbarrow races?
Would you rather be a dog named Killer or a cat named Fluffy?
Would you rather be stranded on an island alone or with someone you hate?
Would you rather meet an alien visitor or travel to outer space?
Would you rather have one wish granted today or three wishes granted in 10 years?
Would you rather visit the Doctor or the Dentist?
Would you rather always have to say everything on your mind or never speak again?
What you rather be super wealthy or completely content?
But whenever we hear, “What makes someone rich?” Our first thought is to go to money or stuff.
Having to much, not having enough, getting rid of stuff, letting stuff become too important, loving my stuff more than people, wanting stuff more than God.
There a lot of scenarios like this and what drives them all is let’s call it a quest seeing as how the Hobbit is coming out soon. It is a quest for treasure.
Growing up I always dreamed that I would find buried treasure but for some reason in my back yard I only ever found railroad spikes which didn’t make sense because our house was 5 kilometers away from a railway track.
In our culture with our emphasis on planning for retirement. That has become one of the treasures. For each of us it is a different number. The number usual is you need to save up enough so that you can retire on the income you currently have now. That is what we are inundated with. That is what forms much of our planning.
For my family that won’t be a reality not because it isn’t doable but because we have made some decisions now that will keep that from happening. I’m not sure what that number is but I have a financial advisor who is patient with me and understanding of how we are choosing to live and is working with us.
But I think I would be happy with a million or so dollars. If I can be completely honest. I think that would make me feel safe moving forward. But I don’t and there is no way that that is going to happen so I have smaller treasures. Smaller ideas of what it means to be rich. It is my Fischer space pen. Can write under water and in the vacuum of space. I have a few other trinkets that I don’t need and that have used up resources that could have been used elsewhere. But I wanted them.
But when I wake up in the middle of the night worried or think about my kids and where they might be I don’t pull out this pen and ask it to bring me comfort. I don’t hold it like a security blanket because I know it has no effect on the world around me but I wanted it. I guess I would call it greed. A one dollars paper mate pen would have been fine but I wanted this one. So I spent $25.00 to get it a few years ago.
Does it bring me comfort, No. Does it make me happy, not really although it was cool to write under water. I can’t be rich in the North American sense but I have my little treasures to give me a sense of having more. But really they mean nothing to me and it is one of the reasons I’m not really attached to my stuff. Because I know that basing my life on the wealth that this life gives isn’t really wealth.
What do you think makes you rich?
Your car
Your family
Your house
Your investment portfolio
Now what helps you sleep at night? What gives you peace of mind? If it is money. Do you think you are looking far enough ahead? If it is family, same question.
What if there was something or someone that gave us a rich life that did not come to an end?
This parable isn’t about the money. Life isn’t about the money. Your job isn’t about the money. But so often that is what we think it all comes down to. It is how we evaluate what we can do next; it is what we look at when it comes to paying the bills. It can take up a lot of our time, energy and emotion.
This parable isn’t about the money. Life isn’t about the money. Your job isn’t about the money. But so often that is what we think it all comes down to. It is how we evaluate what we can do next; it is what we look at when it comes to paying the bills. It can take up a lot of our time, energy and emotion.
(NIV)
Have you ever wondered what would happen if someone just interrupted a teaching session or teaching time? Maybe a Sunday morning here. Or in a class room setting.
That is what is happening in this situation. Jesus like the other gospels record sometimes spoke in front of thousands of people at one time. And that what was happening in the passage we are looking at today, .
Do you think people who follow God can be afraid? Yes we can? And that was part of the context that brought up a fellow had with Jesus. Just prior to this Jesus warning his followers with this crowd listening in what they could expect as his followers. Basically he told them not to fear the people who could hurt and kill them because they followed Jesus because they were worth a lot to him and that he would through God’s Spirit give them the strength wisdom to live well.
Well a guy in the crowd was listening to all this and may have begun to go to that panic place. That dark place where the fear of death or hurt comes from. And because of where his heart was at he thought he would go fo what he thought would provide him with what he needed.
(NIV)
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Being rich in the world ≠ being rich toward God.
In this situation Jesus would have been considered a rabbi, a teacher, someone who could settle issues of the law. And that was part of the role of religious leaders and teachers in that time. They would have people bring issues to them to help in interpreting how the law would speak to that issue. In public like this it was important though that what was brought to a large crowd was something that would be beneficial for the crowd to hear. No something to do with inheritance rights.
But this one fell outside the scope of what Jesus was called to do and Jesus new it. What he could do though was speak to the deeper issue in the man’s life and in many of our lives.
And it is what we need to know today.
What we need to know
Being rich in the world ≠ being rich toward God.
I had this dream when I was twenty that I would be a millionaire by the time I was 30. Then God interrupted my life and I ended up in training to be a missionary and then to be a pastor. Now there are exceptions but I have never met a pastor who was a millionaire by the time they were 30 or 40 or 60 or 70.
What was in my heart was pure and simple greed. My family wasn’t the richest on the block. We had everything we needed but my friends had more of what I needed. I had a motorcycle that I loved a Suzuki ds 80. My friends had Honda rm 125. I had a Datsun pickup, my friends had Camaros. I was always that little bit behind and it built up greed in my life and I made poor decisions financially and socially to compensate.
So when I hit 20 I wanted more than them. When God finally took hold of me and I started to cooperate with him my whole perspective changed and I started to see where real riches were. Not in what I could get but in knowing God a building a life that was rich in him. I went from being greedy for more stuff to being greedy for more of God.
Now I would say that that initial greed for knowing God has waned as I have gotten older because of the comforts of life, and I love comfort. And this passage was a great kick in the teeth for me to revaluate my own life and what has taken place of that desire to know God
The single word in this passage greed conveys a much deeper meaning than one word can give us. This word means an insatiable desire for more.
This man wanted his share and probably more than he was entitled to. He was definitely not the older brother because most of the inheritance would have gone to the oldest and it was the oldest responsibility to take care of the family.
So Jesus uses this parable to make a point. He sees into this man’s heart and what the real issue is.
A guy who hit it right has a bumper crop one year. Enough to retire on and enjoy life. He hit his million.
📷
But what made this guy a fool?
I remember this when we looked at this passage as children. This story was about greed, it was about self-centeredness, it was about wealth that wasn’t shared with others. He was a fool because he built new barns but he would lose his life and wouldn’t get to use it.
Those are the guilt answers. When you ready the teaching of Jesus it was rare that he was trying to make people feel guilty. He was trying to lift people from their guilt to a life that was filled with hope. That hasn’t changed. Guilt has its place but not as a motivator for better behavior. As a motivator to seek out what can replace that guilt with hope, and that is only found in Jesus.
But those answers for why he was a fool really don’t satisfy us do they. This rich man was a fool because his little quest for treasure and comfort was too small. He fell for the lie that accumulating stuff brings purpose. His vision of what was important was small, just like the brother asking for his inheritance.
Folks our souls are not designed to thrive on the stuff we have around us. It doesn’t satisfy. It is fun to have and to use for sure. But in those moments when our eternities are held in front of us are those the things we run to for comfort and meaning? No.
Being rich in the world ≠ being rich toward God.
A step we can take:
Guard your heart and mind about what you have or want to have.
Stuff isn’t wrong. It isn’t wrong to enjoy things. We were created to enjoy. But what drives that enjoyment. What creates real satisfaction.
What makes us rich?
What I have seen though is that stuff does a really good job of getting in the way of my enjoyment of God, of my desire for God.
How do we guard our heart and mind?
By asking a few questions:
Where did all of this come from? 50
What is all of this for? 50
Is this really mine? 50
How far ahead am I looking? 50
How you and I answer this question is crucial to how we will live.
How you and I answer this question is crucial to how we will live.
But with all the pressures on us we think we just can’t and one of the reasons for that is that our lives do not have any margin in them. Jesus used money to describe a problem in this man’s life. But really the issue isn’t the money it is what is most valuable to us.
And sometimes to discover what is valuable we have to develop some margins.
We have to create space so we can look at this in our lives.
This week
Create margin and ask God to use it.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
If we want to discover what Jesus says here we need margin in our life.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
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Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
What we sometimes do is we fall into the trap that the more we have in life is always for me. But does that need to be our mindset. Without margin we
What if you have two sets of tools in your house? Unless you need those tools for work, what if you gave one of them away. It may seem a little simple but what you have done is created margin. You can do it with clothes, or furniture. We can use these things to create margin and see God work at the same time.
Money
Make more and spend less
Do you know how you make more even on what you have? You spend less.
I know for some of you at this point that isn’t the reality because of your situation but for many of us myself included, if we make more we generally consume what we make for ourselves.
What if we chose to create margin with our money so that God could use it. And I’m not simply saying give it to the church. I’m talking about the $10.00 challenge that Mark gave us a few weeks ago. We can create margin with our money so that we can bless others. So that we can give to what God is doing.
Time
Limit things.
It doesn’t always feel like it for me. But we deliberately chose to limit what our kids and us would be involved in so that we would have margin in our lives. Margin to help others, margin to be involved in this church family. Margin to spend time with our children and minister to them.
Have you freed up margin in your time so that you can see what God is doing around you? What if you looked at your time and said, “I’m going to give a percentage of my time to this.” I’m going to say these days these hours need to be free every week so that I can make myself available for God.
You do that and you have created margin.
Stuff
Give some away
What if you have two sets of tools in your house? Unless you need those tools for work, what if you gave one of them away. It may seem a little simple but what you have done is created margin. You can do it with clothes, or furniture. We can use these things to create margin and see God work at the same time.
Jesus doesn’t tells us what it means to be Rich toward God in this parable. This parable wasn’t designed to solve that man’s problem but to show that there was one. But it points to a journey to a relationship with Jesus that is Rich. And if you keep reading in this passage you do see what Jesus is talking about and what it means to be rich toward God.
Being rich in the world ≠ being rich toward God.
22 Then Jesus 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 clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Are you called to sell everything you have and give it to the poor? Maybe. In a bigger way right now though God is saying wake up and see the richness of the life that I offer. See me. Let’s put the stuff in its place and be rich towards me. You may find that you don’t really need the stuff anyways.
Do you want that rich life that is free from worry? When you wake up in the middle of the night in a panic we quickly rest easy because of who you follow not because of what you have?
Being rich in the world ≠ being rich toward God.
Do you desire him and love him so much that you say I don’t really need anything else. That is different from others and it sets you out from others but God has something better.
Create margin and ask God to use it.
Do you desire him and love him so much that you say I don’t really need anything else. That is different from others and it sets you out from others but God has something better.
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