August 2019

Anyone who preaches wonders what are you thinking? What is going on in your heads during the sermon? Are you even listening? Are you concerned about something else? A loved one? Worried about making ends meet? Worried about finding work? Worried about a work project? There can be so many life distractions.

Basically, any time Jesus speaks, He is giving a sermon. He’s the word of God. Jesus just finished teaching the Lord’s Prayer. Then He’s giving warnings and encouragement. He even declares His identity and authority.

Someone in the crowd was not listening. Can you even imagine that? Someone was distracted. Someone just put God on the back burner. Jesus felt ignored and invisible. His humanness can be overwhelming sometimes! 

Someone says, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

If he was listening he would’ve heard that Jesus is our true inheritance. It appears that at least one greedy brother has swindled another greedy brother out of his inheritance. We don’t hear of any other brothers or about the loved one who passed away. Greed has become their God. He’s blind and deaf to God who stands before him. Jesus continues on to tell a parable.

A parable about a rich man who owned a lot of land. Land all around him. What about the land in Heaven? God’s land? There’s no concern about any of that. On his land his crops are producing too much grain. So much so that he needs to build larger barns for storage. He has big retirement plans for this life and explains these plans to his soul.

Do you own your soul? Can you sell your soul? Can you tell your soul to relax? Your soul seeks God. Your soul knows where it belongs. This man does not understand his soul. He’s mistaking it for his mind and his mind is made up on his own personal pleasures. He’s given no thought to God, Heaven or the afterlife.

The bible makes a clear distinction between your soul and your physical body. We are to be holy in body and spirit. This man has no concern for any holiness. Man cannot rule his soul. Only God can rule your soul. 

The bible says that your soul is required of you upon death. God asks for it back. To put it back where it belongs in heaven with Him.

In the OT the word fool refers to someone who either doesn’t believe in God or is against the God of Israel.

Jesus describes this man as a fool. In the NT, fools means unwise, unwilling, unprepared) and imprudent (no care for consequences). I believe we can understand the word fool to represent both the OT and the NT versions.

This reminds me of a Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoon. 

Daffy Duck has acquired a great treasure. The last piece of the treasure is a lamp. He rubs the lamp to clean it off and a genie comes out. Daffy assumes it came to take his treasure and stomps the genie down screaming,”No, no, no, mine, mine, mine!.” The genie explodes in anger and says, “Dog! You have desecrated the spirit of the lamp! Prepare to face the consequences!”

Daffy Duck is now walking away and could care less and says, “Consequences, shmonsequences, as long as I’m rich.” The genie zaps him and shrinks him to a miniature, little Daffy who should now value every scrap, morsel and crumb he can find but he doesn’t change. He’s still seeking riches at the end of the cartoon.

You would be surprised how often Jesus spoke on the topic of money. Because He knows that we’re only growing worse in our obsessions with ourselves and with money. We no longer try to keep up with the Joneses we try to keep up with the Kardashians. The American Dream has transformed into a fantasy life characterized by pure indulgence and total narcissism. We hear this parable from Jesus and it fits more with todays world than almost 2000 years ago. Because He knew it then and knows it now. Everything is more, more, more, now, now, now, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine!

The problem is that we don’t always listen very well. We’re easily distracted and are too focused on ourselves and our stuff.

They say ancient man worshipped many Gods. The God of the Sun, the God of the crops, the God of the water. I believe this came about because man sought God in every aspect of life. If I look to the sky there is God. If I look over my crops, there is God. If I look to the waters, there is God. They say that monotheism started in the Middle East but that isn’t entirely true. There’s proof of it in Africa, North America and China. All of creation understood there was one true God. We only see creation as the physical but we’re only beginning to understand Quantum Physics and the sub-atomic world. Atoms, Quarks and String theory, which suggests that electrons and quarks are actually minuscule vibrating loops of energy. What exists in these energy loops? No matter how deep science takes us can we see the truth? The Bible describes God as a spiritual energy.  To me, God is in every Quark and Atom.

My favorite Psalm is 139 and my favorite part of that Psalm is verses 7 thru 10.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.

I try to seek out God in everything and everyone. I know He’s here! He’s there! He’s everywhere!

I even have my Jesus action figure. Jesus Christ superhero! 

Instead of the Sermon on the Mount, I have the Sermon on the Shelf. I can pretend He is GI Jesus with the kung fu miracle grip. He has glow in the dark hands. I guess they thought those were the only parts of Him that performed the miracles. I love it! I thought this was a very thoughtful present. 

I know that I can’t hide from God but I can pretend with this Jesus action figure. I can literally put Him on the back burner. I just got to make sure the stove is Off. I can just turn Him around and He can’t see me any more. 

I’ve never been a fool with a lot of money and possessions but I have been a poor fool with few possessions including my Jesus toy. I also try not to take things for granted but we all do. Do not take your soul for granted. If you really need to be a fool, be a fool for God! Get greedy for God!

The fictional character Gordon Gecko in the movie, “Wall Street,” said “Greed, for lack of a better word is good.”

We’re greedy, foolish creatures just like Gordon and Daffy Duck. The only way we can make greed good is when we turn it to God. In Chapter 4 of Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy, he makes a request. Please listen to this:

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.”

Again, he says, “above all the parchments.”

Paul is about to die, and he knows it and what does he ask for? He asks for God’s word. He asks for scripture. Here is a man who memorized the entire Old Testament but he still wants to read it. He understands that his memorization of it can still get in the way of learning new things from re-reading it.

Paul wanted every bit of God that he could get. To savor every word. To soak up every ounce of His presence and power. And nothing less would satisfy him, even in his dying moments.

I think that should be a challenge to all of us. The point is greed can be good. It’s good to be greedy for God. It’s good to get all you can of Him.

The power is that Jesus is our true inheritance. He is God. God is everything and He is eternal. God is never going to run out of grace or love. He’s never going to run out of joy or mercy. He’s never going to run out of anything so why not take all of Him that you can get! Get greedy!