Faith-Life’s Riches are Hidden with God
These are the readings for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
Did you know that you are the richest person in the world? Are you saying to yourself: “I didn’t get that memo?” No, you didn’t win the lottery last night. Bill Gates didn’t die and leave you all his money. But the fact still remains that you are the richest person in the world, along with all others who have put their faith in Jesus as Savior. So where are our riches? They’re being stored in heaven for us, “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). They may be hidden with God at this very moment, but that doesn’t mean they’re not ours at this very moment. God has promised them to us, and he will deliver!
First Lesson – Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:18-26
What attitude does Kings Solomon (assuming he is the author here) have about the things of this world?
Solomon calls the things of this world meaningless under the sun. We might also translate “vapor.” They go away quickly. Though Solomon was very rich, he knew how fleeting the things of this world really are.
Whom did Solomon recognize as the giver of all blessings, both worldly and eternal?
Solomon realized that everything was “from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” By Spirit-given faith in the risen Savior, a Christian comes to see that all of our riches are hidden with God.
Traditional Second Lesson – Colossians 3:1-11
Upon what does Paul encourage us to set our hearts and minds?
The apostle encourages us to set our hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things. Christians look forward to the day when Jesus will return and the extent of our richness in him will be revealed. Until that time, our riches are hidden with him.
What attitude does Paul tell Christians to take toward things belonging to our “earthly nature?”
While the things of this world and the behaviors of this world might be tempting to our sinful flesh, Paul tells us to put them to death and to put on our new self,” which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” When Jesus returns, the new self will be fully restored.
Supplemental Second Lesson – James 5:1-11
Evidently, rich landowners in James’ day were cheating poor believers who worked in their fields. The owners paid low wages. What should we then think today?
We should remember James’ words. God has heard the cries of people being cheated. God will make oppressive unbelievers miserable when he takes away their wealth on the Last Day. Already, practically all their valuable things are corroded and ruined. They cannot last.
What main words of comfort does James offer to people going through financial troubles? (See especially 5:8 and 5:11.)
James reminds us that the Lord’s coming is near (5:8) and that even now the Lord is compassionate and merciful (5:11). Let us keep persevering, like Job and the prophets of old. Let us “keep on keeping on.”
Gospel – Luke 12:13-21
Jesus states that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” In what does it consist?
Real-life—a Christian’s faith-life—consists of being “rich toward God” (12:21). Earthly possessions are fleeting and transient, but the heavenly riches that the Lord has stored up for us will last forever. (See 2 Timothy 4:8.) For now, those riches are hidden with God.
How does Jesus illustrate the truth of this principle?
Jesus illustrates his point by telling the parable of the rich fool. The rich fool believes that after attaining earthly wealth he has nothing more to worry about or gain. Jesus calls him a fool because one day he will face death and all his worldly riches will become meaningless.