"Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end." -author unknown
CALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: True happiness comes from following God's way.
ALL: Our only delight comes in walking with Christ.
ONE: Let us praise our maker by fixing our vision upon the Lord.
ALL: We offer our praise through faithful action. Let us worship God.
PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: 0 god, whose Word is not just a one-way conversation, talk with us today and hear us as we pray. Free us, that we might listen for Your voice, and empower us to speak to You. For in Christ Jesus, You have called us into a friendship which influences all other relationships. Help us to see beauty where we might be tempted to see ugliness, in ourselves as well as in others. May Your joy be found there as well. Recreate in us a new heart, 0 God, one that beats in time with Your own. And now, as Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen
0 God, You remind us that faith without
love is meaningless. We present these gifts with love. We rejoice in our ability to share. May this moment of giving warm our hearts and stir our souls so that we remember to act consistently out of love. Amen
Someone in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbitrator between you?"
Then He said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in abundance of his possessions."
And He told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
Then he said, 'This is what do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'
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?'
CAN YOU SPELL?
We often refer to Jesus Christ as the master teacher. I wish I could have been more like Jesus when I was teaching full-time, especially in the patience department. Jesus used illustrations and visual aids. He had personal conversations with people, including Q & A sessions. But there is no doubt that His most effective way of teaching was the parable. He taught the truth by making it easy to understand and easy to remember.
Today we are going to look at the parable of the rich fool. Jesus told the parable in order to warn those listening about greed. He wanted to illustrate that a person's life doesn't consist in the amount of his possessions. That can be illustrated by this little story:
Henry was looking so glum and depressed that a friend asked, "Henry, what's the matter with you? You look like you've lost your last friend?" Henry responded, "What's the matter? tell you. Remember two weeks ago, my Aunt Molly died and left me fifty thousand dollars?"
His friend said, "Yes, I remember. What's so awful?" "What's so awful, you ask! Remember last week my Uncle David died and left me a hundred thousand dollars?" His friend said he remembered that too and asked, "What's so bad about that?"
With a sad face Henry responded, "What's so bad about it? This week I didn't inherit anything!"
The Lord gives us many gifts each day. We have many reasons to be joyful and happy. Yet many times we aren't happy with what we have because we are disappointed that we don't have more.
Jesus told the parable of the rich fool in answer to a question from someone in the crowd He was talking to. The man asked, "Teacher, will You tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me?"
Jesus answered saying, "Friend, who made me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" He continued saying, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possession."
To illustrate what He had said to make the man understand more fully, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. He begins by saying:
The land of a rich man produced abundantly. The man then thinks to himself, "What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?" Then he says, "I will do this: I will pull 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 and be merry." But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" Jesus continues by saying, "So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward
Why did God call this man a fool? Well the first reason is that he was a materialist. He was a man who considered material possessions and physical comfort more important than spiritual values. Being rich becomes a sin when we put wealth before God. We have to be willing to leave all our material goods if it ever became necessary to do so.
The second reason the man was a fool is that he ignored his responsibility to God. The man simply forgot that everything, absolutely everything, belongs to God. The man also ignored his responsibility to his fellow man. When we are blessed, we are expected to help those who are less fortunate. Jesus travelled and He was always doing good wherever He went.
The final reason the man was a fool is that he never included God in any of his plans. The man didn't realize that his riches wouldn't last forever if his heart wasn't right with God. He forgot that he could die at any moment. He had allowed the cares of the world to overcome his duty to God, The man trusted his riches instead of putting his trust in God.
Wealth is essentially having an abundance of something that is valuable. In God's kingdom, gold is just a metal and diamonds are just a rock. These things hold no value in God's kingdom. When we die, we can't take it with us. The only thing that is valuable in God's kingdom is having a relationship with Him through our obedience to His expectations of us. Knowing God and being in a good and honest relationship with Him, is the only true valuable thing.
Let's look at Luke 12, verse 15 once again: "One's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." And verse 21, "So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."
It's important to realize that our lives aren't made up of possessions. Having a lot of 'stuff' doesn't make your life better, which is why the happiest people are NOT among the most wealthy. Jesus told us that people who are only concerned with becoming wealthy instead of becoming rich towards God, are foolish, because only knowing God is truly valuable. The rich man is considered to be a fool because he was wealthy in all he thought was valuable, but he was poor in the one area that actually mattered.
We need to make sure that we don't make the same mistakes as the rich fool. He was foolish because he was a materialist. He was foolish because he ignored his responsibility to God and his fellow man. And he was foolish because he forgot that he could die at any moment.
Then Jesus said to them, "Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. A man's life is not measured by the many things he owns." Let's look at this verse from a different point of view. When I was in Elementary School we used to have spelling bees or spell-downs. I was always so nervous — what if I couldn't spell the word correctly? What if I hadn't studied hard enough? What if the teacher got cross or was disappointed in me? You always tried your best to be the last one standing in your row.
If you think about it, living is a lot like a spell-down. You need to study and study which things are right, and then stand up before the world and say them. Some people are spelled-down early in life because they didn't study hard enough.
There are some things which we are all trying to spell out in life. Success is one of them. We all want to be standing in the success row until the end. Happiness is another one of the things we want to spell, for we all want to be happy. Then again, we want to know how to spell God, for all of us want to be counted in when God calls His people.
The only reason we won't be standing in those rows will be because we didn't learn how to spell the words correctly. Some people spell success M-O-NE-Y, but that is wrong. There are many monuments in this country which people have erected in honour of successful people — Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, King Edward VI, Samuel de Champlain, Wolf and Montcalm, and the Unknown Soldier; but I have yet to see a single statue or monument erected to a man just because he was rich. M-O-N-E-Y does not spell success. A god and right thing well done spells success.
Next we'll look at happiness. Some people spell that T-H-R-I-L-L-S. If they can just get all the thrills they want, all the excitement, then they think they will be happy. But again, they are spelling it incorrectly. These people won't stand long in the happiness row. Happiness is spelled out in unselfish service; in helping others. When you try it that way, you will stand until the last.
Then there are those people who God M-E. They are only concerned with what I want to do; what I please; what I like; what I don't like. ME! ME! ME! But we all know that M-E does not spell God. God is spelled L-O-V-E and that is the way we should spell it if we want to be right.
How do you spell success? How do you spell happiness? And how do you spell God? Are you going to be counted out in the great spelling match of living because you don't put in the right actions and thoughts, or because you are trying to spell these words to suit yourself? Let's be counted when God counts His scholars, by learning His was of spelling.
Let us pray: Dear Lord, I come before You to ask for Your forgiveness. In the past I have only had thoughts of self-indulgence. Praying and dreaming of things I do not need. Never giving a thought for others, only my own selfish desires. You can see all the secrets of our hearts. So let there be no more greed, only faith and thoughts of kindness. Thank You, of wonderful Lord, for keeping my mind clear and giving me Your blessings. Amen.
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN:
May the God of love who showed love, strengthen us in Your love for others. May Jesus, who shared His life, grant us Your grace that we might share our life. And may the Holy Spirit living in us, empower us to be only and always for others.