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Sermons

Through His Poverty, We Became God Rich

February 16, 2020 Speaker: The Rev. Patrick Wildman Series: Sent for the Sake of Others

Topic: Sent for the Sake of Others Passage: Luke 12:13–12:31

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Jesus said that it is difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Not impossible (all things are possible with God), but difficult. Why?

We see the answer in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21). In this story is a man so caught up in the pursuit of wealth that he forgets what really matters. He takes good things – hard work, providing for his family, providing employment for others, etc. – and makes them ultimate things. The pursuit of more, bigger, and better becomes his god. He stores up stuff for himself, but he’s not rich toward God. The warning is clear: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:20) As Jesus asks elsewhere, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36)

We must not become earth-rich and God-poor or, when the day of accounting arrives, we will come up empty-handed. Our focus needs to be on being God-rich, regardless if we are earth-rich or not.

How does one become God-rich? Do we attain it by being generous and giving our wealth to the poor? We may be tempted to answer that way, but generosity is a consequence of being God-rich, not a cause.

St. Paul tells us how we become God-rich in 2 Corinthians. It isn’t something that we can earn through our hard work. Rather, being God-rich is made available to us through the work of another. That word is one this community knows well – grace. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9)

The Son of God gave up the riches of heaven so he could give himself on the cross (he became poor). Through his poverty, we become God-rich when we place our faith in Christ and what he did for us. Thanks be to God!

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