Bread – Rich

February 3, 2010

Readings for Wednesday, February 3 as
    designated by the Book of Common Prayer:
    Gen. 16:1-14; Heb. 9:15-28; John 5:19-29
    Psalms 49, 53, 119:49-72

"Do not be overawed when a man grows rich…for he will take nothing with him when he dies…Though while he lived he counted himself blessed (and men praise you when you prosper) …A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish."  Ps. 49:16-20

The views from Haiti remind us that we are rich in America beyond some people’s wildest imaginations.  In North Texas, where many of you live, rich is a norm.

Who among us is not impressed when someone drives by in a $ 250,000 Bentley or some other expensive car?  Who does not marvel at the palaces some people call homes?  Who does not wonder what some people do for a living that they should have so much wealth?

And who among us does not spend a good bit (if not a majority) of our lives striving to become rich, or having achieved some level of richness, striving to keep it?  In fact, we are so obsessed with riches that there are whole churches devoted to enlisting God to help us add to our riches, and there are a lot of people who go to those churches.

The Psalmist reminds us today of the foolishness of this thinking, reminding us that on the way to the grave there is the coffin and the hearse, but no U-Haul carrying our things.  In fact I have been to many estate sales where the decedent’s precious riches were sold for a pittance.

The Psalmist further reminds us that riches are only useful and good when they are combined with understanding.  Without being combined with understanding, with nothing more than riches we are no better than the "beasts that perish."

What is this understanding referenced by the Psalmist?  It is best described by using today’s Scriptures:

"You are my portion, O Lord … I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes."  Ps. 119:57, 59

"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him."  Heb. 9:27-28

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."  John 5:24

"You (God) are my portion…"  Not fame, not riches, not power, not addictions, not me, not us, not a cause, not politics – "You (God) are my portion."  If you can say this and mean it, you have understanding.

Is God really our portion, or is our reliance upon our bank account?  When we say the prayer given to us by Jesus, for God the Father to "give us our daily bread," do we really look to Him for our portion for the day or do we look to our agenda, our friends, our retirement account, or ourselves?  Do we act to please God or our friends or ourselves or the world?  Do we have understanding?

There are three quotes above from our readings today.  The second and third relate to Christ’s finished work on the cross for us, so that those who trust in Him and believe what He did, what He does, and what He will do will in turn have eternal relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, will have eternal life.  If you know this, if you believe this, you have understanding.

If so, if we do have understanding, riches may exist in our life or they may not, but neither matters because "You (God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are my portion."

And with understanding and with God as our portion, we can say that we are truly rich, regardless of what the U-Haul contains.


One Response to “Bread – Rich”

  1. KathyK Says:

    Too many of have lost sight of the fact that you are “rich” when you have enough. Most of us don’t know when we’ve had enough, whether at the dinner table or with our possessions. (That is why obesity is such a problem in America today!) If you have enough to meet needs (not wants) you are rich! The blessings we have in this country are unimaginable to some people from other places. The trouble with gluttony, envy and greed (some of the 7 deadly sins) is that they warp our sensibility of enough. We can never have enough when we are in the grips of these sins. And of course the culture and media are full of images that incite these very sins. What is the cure for this sin? It is the blood of Jesus. We need to take our sins to Jesus and ask Him to give us a heart that is content with what we have and generous toward others who are in need.

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