There is Not Much Room in a Casket

 

A sermon on Luke 12:13-21

Whether we like or not, our world revolves around money.  The almighty dollar. The blood stains that money has left across history are grand, sometimes obvious, and other times hidden in rhetoric about freedom, individual or state rights, and even religion.  The “official” reason for atrocities such as the Crusades may have been Christ, but we all know it was for money and power.  Wars are waged, political elections are won, any number of crimes are committed, conspiracies are hatched, all in the name of money.  Current “hot button” issues are tied up in money from the obvious incredible debt of this country, issues of health care, to education where the focus is unfortunately much more on funds than on the well being of our children.

There is no way to escape the everlasting need for money.  We must work for money in order to simply live, which leads us to spending well over half our weeks and years toiling for money.  It is simply a part of the fabric of our world.  Money, and possessions, we acquire from it, and assets that bring us money, are simply the way this world works.  So, though money might be the “root” of all evil, money in itself cannot be terrible.

For this reason, Christians no doubt struggle with this terrible slavery to the dollar.  Money is necessary, even for good.  It requires money and resources to do ministry, even for mundane things like keeping the lights on for worship.  So it’s a struggle for us, especially when we turn to Scripture.  The golden altar in the temple of Solomon, the wealth and prosperity rewarded to David, the extravagance of Jerusalem are placed side by side with not only the poverty of Israelites in the desert and exile, but also beside very clear instructions concerning the evils of wealth.  Proverbs tells us “those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves (11:28).”

Lest we think our situation in the 21st century is unique, we have Jesus talking all the time about money.  11 of his parables concern the use of money.  He continuously warns against the evils that material wealth can bring.  Discipleship to Christ carried a high cost: “None of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions (14:33).”  Because: “What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? (9:25)”  We read these words paying our electric bills, going to work, picking the kids up from school and its hard to know what to think. Continue reading “There is Not Much Room in a Casket”