Lord. Jesus. grant us the grace of the Spirit to hear that which thou shall speak to us. Amen.
Luke 12, 16-21. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do. because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool! this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
You know this parable of our Lord from your Bible History; and of course you are careful not to speak as did this rich husband man. Now, every man who puts his trust in his riches; and feels secure, thinking that he has all which he can need, — is the man spoken of in this parable. It is a dangerous thing to have abundance. One imagines that he believes in God, and does not realize how strongly his heart is tied to the world. No doubt there are rich people whose heart is in the right place; but their number must be very small.
We do not fully understand how strong a hold our earthly possessions have on us. Without our knowing it the heart often is divided between them and God. It is, therefore, mercy on the part of the Lord, when he, as occasion demands, puts his hand on our worldly possessions, takes all or a part of them away from us, according to his knowledge of what we are able to bear; and teaches us to know, and sets us free from, our idolatrous trust in mammon. When everything shapes itself according to your wishes, when your wealth increases, when your moneys multiply, and you seem to have nothing but good fortune; it behooves you carefully to examine yourself, asking God to give you light and grace. For either you are one of the few whom wealth does not ruin, — in which case you surely will have trials of another kind; — or, you are one of those who have “received their good things in their lifetime,” and who lay up treasures for themselves, and are not rich toward God. In the latter case the result is frightful. “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” “This night”; this very night, mark you! — “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure; and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” (Isaiah 5, 8. 14). — He, however, who is poor and dissatisfied; who is envious of the rich, and is full of cares; or who is idle, and lives on the earnings of others; such a one has no right to glory over the man of wealth; for he is himself the own brother of the unhappy husband man of our text. — Let all the Lord’s people hear and heed the words of the apostle, 1 Timothy 6, 10-12: “The love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, brethren; but lay up treasures in heaven! Lay up treasures in heaven; for where your treasure is there will your hearts be.
Our God, do thou teach us to believe in thee with our whole heart, and to use our abundance in the exercise of charity toward the needy. Amen.
Help me to set mine house in order
Betimes, and ever ready be.
That when thou callest, I may answer,
Lord, as thou wilt do unto me.
O God, when tolls my parting knell,
For Jesus’ sake may all be well!