The Season after Pentecost: Proper 13, Year C

RichManRichness of God

  • Hosea 11:1-11
  • Psalm 107:1-9, 43
  • Colossians 3:1-11
  • Luke 12:12-21

God satisfies our hunger and thirst for all good things. Using the imagery of a parent caring for a child, Hosea describes God’s love for Israel. God taught them to walk, held them, healed them, fed them, and “led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love” (v. 4)

Luke also draws attention to God’s grace and love by distinguishing between the life consumed by the acquiring of possessions and the one that is “rich toward God.” Here a man addresses Jesus as “teacher,” and asks him to act as an arbitrator in a dispute over a family inheritance. It was a common practice to ask a rabbi or religious man to act as a judge on issues of what constitutes right conduct. Then, as now, disputes about inheritances could tie up property for indefinite periods of time and cause long-lasting conflict among the parties involved.

But are disputes promoted by self-interest or the good of all? Greed and coveting possessions are not how one gets into the Kingdom of heaven. We can focus on being able to “relax, eat, drink, be merry” (v. 19) or as Isaiah 22:13 says, “Let us eat and drink . . . for tomorrow we die.” How will these possessions survive – they have no value for eternity. When life is considered only in terms of material possessions, we live in fear and cut ourselves off from a richer relationship with God.

The foolishness of the rich man illustrates that there is no connection between eternal life and an abundance of material possessions. In the end, we all die, whether we are rich or poor.

With a new life in Christ, we can set our minds on “things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2). Being clothed in Christ allows us to be transformed into a new life of glory for evermore.

For reflection:

  • How do possessions influence our lives? How might your life be changed if you had less “stuff”?
  • What do you have that would be the most difficult to give up, and why?
  • Why does God call the rich man a fool?
  • What does it mean to be “rich toward God” (v. 21)? How does one attain this “wealth”?

About Sharon Ely Pearson

Wife, mom, grandmother; author, educator, consultant; trying to make a difference one action at a time. Christian formation has been my vocation for 40+ years - and counting!
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