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31 July 2016

Pentecost 11 Sermon: True Treasure

Preached on Luke 12:13-21
The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 13C
31 July AD 2016

Title: True Treasure (MP3 Audio)

Holbein: The Rich Fool Summary: There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the material blessings that we receive from our loving God. Today’s reading from Ecclesiastes clearly tells us that a person can “eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil,” knowing that these are “from the hand of God. (2:24)” It’s how and why we use these gifts that makes all the difference.

Jesus warns against hoarding, of receiving divine gifts and clinging to them without a thankful response, of refusing to be “rich toward God.” Such shameful grasping is the spiritual equivalent of consistently overeating. For as gluttonous consumption gradually weighs us down and blocks easy blood flow throughout our bodies, so hoarded treasures drag us away from the Lord and impede the flow of His Word to our hearts.

God desires to be our Shepherd and lead us into the bliss of everlasting life. Meanwhile, as we sang in today’s Introit, those who engage in vain grasping have “foolish confidence.” They listen to a false leader and “death shall be their shepherd. (Psalm 49:13-14)”

Any earthly treasure is fool’s gold. God, however is rich toward us, granting the true and eternal wealth of forgiveness and life in Christ. We, in turn, are “rich toward God” when we respond in faith toward Him and in love toward our neighbor in need.

Luke 12:13-21 Text: Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of True Treasure

Illustrations: Der Rych Man by Hans Holbein and lectionary art from Misioneros Del Sagrado Corazón en el Perú.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 100; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-26; Colossians 3:1-11

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