FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
8TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY AUGUST 4TH 2019
TEXTS: LUKE 12: 13 – 21
THEME: WHAT IS YOUR LIFE WORTH?
This is a question that generates many more question like; worth to who? What measurement? At what stage? Compared to what? And many more. But for today I like to seek Jesus interpretation when answering a question from a man who was seeking justice from his brother. This man was coming to Jesus with this problem which he hoped Jesus would help out. He wanted Jesus to ask his brother to give him his portion on his inheritance from his parent’s estate. Jesus though starting by sending a question to him he gives them a parable of this one farmer.
In the parable the farmer was blessed with such a big harvest that he had to build new bans to store his big harvest. This was a good thing and Jesus does not condemn him for that (enlarging his bans) but for what he says he would do when the harvest was this good. To this man his life worth was equal to the big harvest which he had gotten. He thought his wealth would bring him contentment.
Jesus is answering a question that sometimes we miss or mix with other issues. In this parable we read of a farmer who is blessed with a good harvest. I believe he did the right thing to make sure he had enough storage for his produce. The challenge come on what is he going to do with all this big harvest that he has harvested? This is where he thinks inwardly and he became selfish instead of wondering how he could use his blessing to be a blessing to others. This then leads us to the question what are we worth? The world may wish to think that our worth is based on the material we accumulate, the influence we have in the community, the level education……… But I would like us to explore what the bible shares about our worth:
- We are more than all creation: God in his divine wisdom created all what we see and don’t see. After he completed the creation his response was “it was good.” But with all what he created big or small and the invisible by human eyes, it was only humans that he created in his own image. We are worth the image of God. we represent God in his creation. Different people may have different interpretation of what is in human that is the image of God? To me by God giving us capacity free will make us near to God. It allows us to experience God in a personal if we chose to do that. God created big things and small thing yet it was human who were given dominion over all the creation.
- We worth God’s Son: Of the creation that God created it was only humans that have a promised continued life after they die from the world. We have life after death. In some way we can argue that humans never die they are transformed to something different and better. There are people who believe their pets will also be in the pet heaven. I can’t argue either way on that maybe we will all know once we get to heaven. Out life is transformed like that of a caterpillar that is changed to a butterfly. The best thing is that the new body we get when we die it will never die again. Human become the co-inheritors with Jesus of the heavenly Kingdom. Our worth is greater than we can imagine. God gave his only begotten son to die so as to save humanity. Human value is eternal. God has prepared a place in his eternal kingdom and this becomes an ultimate honor bestowed upon us. Jesus son of God came to the world to save us humans not all the creation.
- We are Stewards: Life is more than material things. What we have is to be used to create a relationship of sharing. Any life preparation that does not help us get closer to God is not useful. Our life goals should be those that help get closer to our heavenly destination. Our heavenly richness is a result of our willingness to do God’s will here and helping those around us. The world will entice us by telling us that life will be better if we have more stuff, but that not true. The writer of Ecclesiastes 1 &2 had discovered this many years before, that everything is vanity is like chasing the wind. Good and fulfilled life has nothing to do how much material we have accumulated but how we cherish the little we have and are willing to share. Jesus words for us on our earthly goal that does not translate to our heaven bound goals are not worth. We have to realize the fact that we came on this earth with nothing and we will leave with nothing. That is why there is no U-hall attached to the hearse. God is challenging us to be good stewards and be the extension of God’s blessing to his people. We are worth more than money. As good stewards we have to be aware of the needs around us. The needs do not always require money to solve but they might mean our time or talent is all expected of us. Our value before God is attached to the lives that we touched that needed human touch. It was “John Wesley’s rule of life was to save all he could and give all he could. When he was at Oxford, he had an income of 30pounds a year. He lived on 28 pounds and gave 2 pounds. When his income was increased to 60, 90 and 120 pounds a year, he still lived on 28 pounds and gave the balance away. The Accountant-General for the household plate demanded a return from him. His reply was, ‘I have two silver tea spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate which I have to present; and I shall not buy any more, while so many around me want bread.” (William Barclay The New Daily Study- The Gospel of Luke publ. Westminster John Knox Press Louisville Kentucky 2001 p. 195). The Romans had a proverb that went like this, “money was like sea water; the more you drink the thirstier you became.” (Ibid p. 195). The Christian way is to see opportunities of how to change someone’s life with the increased blessing. It is not to develop new ways of spending. We have to fight that spirit of wanting more and more and more. Life worth and fulfillment does not come from possessions or things but rather it comes from our willingness to share the little that we have.