The Christian Seeks Spiritual Wealth
These are the readings for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
God in heaven has blessed us in untold ways. Take a moment to consider just how many blessings you have. Chances are that most of what you considered was temporal, that is, for this life only. More important than all that, certainly, is our salvation in Christ Jesus, the only blessing that offers us an assurance of life eternal. This blessing is ours through the precious Word of God alone.
First Lesson – 1 Kings 3:5-12
What excellent role model does Solomon provide for us as we undertake tasks in life?
Young King Solomon was poised to begin his reign as ruler of Israel, replacing his father, King David. This was certainly a daunting task. So Solomon correctly subjects all earthly things to the important spiritual things and seeks God’s wisdom to carry out the demands of his new position in a God-pleasing way. In the words of the hymn-writer: “With the Lord begin your task, Jesus will direct it.”
Since Solomon placed godly things first, what else did God provide?
In addition to the wisdom Solomon requested, God also granted him riches, power, and fame unparalleled in any other human. Remember the words of the Savior: “Seek first the kingdom, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:31).
Second Lesson – Romans 8:28-30
How does God call us for his purpose?
As in days past, God still calls us through the means of grace—his gospel found in the Word and sacraments.
A wonderful chain of events is described, beginning long before we came to be. If God intricately wove his plan for us through all these steps, what continuation of these steps will he most certainly bring to pass?
From eternity God foreknew us and predestined us to be conformed in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Through the gospel, he called us and justified us by faith in the promises that he himself made. Since God carefully planned each of these steps, bringing us into our current relationship with him, we can with confidence expect that he will bring that plan to completion by glorifying us one day as we enter heaven itself. Note that Paul’s confidence in this is so strong that he speaks of it as if even the final step had already occurred.
Supplemental Second Lesson – 1 Timothy 6:17-21
Could Paul’s words be more timely or appropriate for this generation?
Paul instructs preachers everywhere to warn the rich about the two pet sins of the wealthy: arrogance and false hope. Mankind so easily falls in the error of thinking that earthly treasures can provide security or a sense of worth. In our affluent society, both of those sins run rampant in a Christian heart. God commands us not to trust in earthly treasure because he wants us to have a firm foundation on which to stand, a certainty on which to place our hope. That can only be found in spiritual wealth. God richly provides for us, and then we give thanks by being rich in good deeds. Spiritual wealth is certain and secure, for it is treasure laid up in heaven.
How can we possibly carry out this command?
Teach us to ask according to your will, that we may never fail to obtain the blessings you have promised.
Gospel – Matthew 13:44-52
What do both the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value represent?
Each represents the kingdom of heaven—a prize of priceless value. Each parable indicates that nothing else should be considered so highly as to risk losing this most precious possession.
The parable of the net teaches of the final judgment. How does its message also extend the thought of the first two parables?
While its main teaching is of the final judgment, this parable implies the importance of our faith in God’s promises. May that faith remain strong so that our stake in the kingdom of God is not lost!