Bread – Enrich

September 4, 2013


Readings for Wednesday, September 4, 2013, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 1 Kings 9:24-10:13; James 3:1-12; Mark 15:1-11; Psalms 38,119:25-48

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Who do we enrich? If we were to take an inventory of who we benefit from our actions, I bet it would look something like this, in order: (1) Me (75%), (2) My Family (24%), (3) Others (1%), (4) God (whatever is left over).

Now I am probably being a bit harsh, so please change the order and the percentages if these do not apply to you. Somehow, though, I doubt that the order will change and I think that the percentages are closer than we would like to admit.

Who ought we to enrich? Well, if you consider bringing glory to God an enrichment of Him, both the order and the percentages probably should invert as follows: (1) God (50%), (2) Others (25%), (3) My Family (25%), (4) Me (whatever is left over). But since God returns in great measure, well pressed down, the end result of a God-centered life probably distributes the enrichment evenly across Me, My Family, and Others (33% each).

Why this question today? Well, it is raised in our reading from 1 Kings, where the Queen of Sheba comes to admire Solomon and to question him so that she can test his wisdom. Among the grand pomp and circumstances contained in this event are these words from the Queen: “Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!” 1 Kings 10:8

It is obvious to the Queen that Solomon’s great wisdom, wealth, and power are enriching someone, but who? Obviously Solomon but also, to the Queen, Solomon’s servants, in other words the people who work and live close to him. Who is missing from this? The people of Israel. Me (75%), My Family (24%), everyone else (?).

God gives us blessings and gifts, just like He gave Solomon. Today we live in the splendor of stuff, just like Solomon did. Today we live in the midst of great knowledge (maybe not wisdom, but that is for a different Bread), just like Solomon. And who do we bless with our blessings? Who is enriched through us using the gifts that God has given us?

We as gods know how to enrich ourselves and we do it every day. We as servants of the only God need to learn how to enrich others, those close to us and those far away. Servants enrich others; masters enrich themselves.

When we talk about being masters of ourselves, masters of our ship, masters of our destiny, masters of the universe, is it any wonder that we are selfish, that we enrich ourselves and our own? Is it any wonder that we act like Solomon rather than Jesus?

If we are going to begin to enrich others, there is not only a heart change required but a vocabulary change. How do we change our vocabulary from words of mastery to words of servanthood? I think it begins by recognizing the we had nothing to do with our salvation; our salvation is all Christ’s. Because, if we cannot save ourselves by our works or by uttering the right formulas, then we are masters of nothing and servant of the One who saves. And from that beginning, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we begin to shift the percentages of enrichment away from us and toward those who we, now, can love.

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© 2013 GBF

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