daily biblical sermons


THE PROPER CHRISTIAN USE OF WEALTH
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, Eleventh Week of the Year, June 17, 2016
2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20, Psalm 131, Matthew 6:19-23


Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.

 

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:19-20).


We should live a simple life as Christians. We should not store up money for our own pleasures, luxurious meals, and worldly entertainments, but rather we should use the money we have in the Lord's service. We should live a simple life, because we want to have an undivided heart in our relationship with God. We know that a life of unnecessary worldly pleasures and sumptuous daily banqueting divides our heart and siphons off our love in other directions, in worldly, self-centered directions, that makes the love of God grow cold in our heart.


Hence we should eat simply and avoid worldly pleasures, television-watching, pleasure trips, secular movies and novels. We should do this because we want to live for the Lord with all our heart and soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). We should do this because we want our treasure to be in heaven, not in worldly pleasures and delights. If we do this, our eye will be simple, undivided, unmixed. That is, our soul will be full of light and so will our whole body.


And how do we lay up heavenly treasures? Jesus tells us how. "Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys" (Luke 12:33). In other words, if we give alms, we will have treasure in heaven that will not be destroyed by thieves or moths.


Jesus tells the same thing to the rich young man, "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven" (Mark 10:21). So giving to the poor will provide for us treasure in heaven. St. Paul says the same, "As for the rich of this world ... They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed" (1 Timothy 6:17, 18-19). The rich are to use their money to help those in need. In this way they will help their own future in heaven.


So don't let your wealth rust or rot or become moth-eaten by sitting in your house. Their rust will be evidence against you before God. Rather use your wealth now for those in need. Use it before it starts to rust or lose value through inflation.


"Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter" (James 5:1-5).


You are living in luxury, banqueting sumptuously three times a day. Your wealth is piling up and losing value by inflation in the economy, while the poor who need it for the basics go in want. This is not good.


Use your wealth now in the Lord's service. Help those in real need. Be like the owner of the vineyard who gave a full day's wage even to those whom he had hired at the eleventh hour (5 PM). When he was criticized for this, he said, "I choose to give to this last as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?" (Matthew 20:14-15). This parable shows us how generous God is with us. We should do the same with others.


The Old Testament too gives us the same message. "Help a poor man for the commandment's sake, and because of his need do not send him away empty. Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend, and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost. Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High, and it will profit you more than gold. Store up almsgiving in your treasury, and it will rescue you from all affliction; more than a mighty shield and more than a heavy spear, it will fight on your behalf against your enemy" (Sirach 29:9-13).


"Do not let your silver rust under a stone and be lost" (Sirach 29:10). Do not let it sit idly in your house, become depreciated by inflation, and end up losing half its value. Use it now in the Lord's service and for those in real need. This will store up for you heavenly treasures. "Store up almsgiving in your treasury, and it will rescue you from all affliction" (Sirach 29:12). You will help yourself more in this way than by doing anything else. "He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor" (Proverbs 22:9).


Lending is also good. "If there is among you a poor man, one of your brethren, in any of your towns within your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be" (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). "For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in the land" (Deuteronomy 15:11).


All these biblical texts on being generous to those in need, when read together like this, all at once, make quite an impression. It makes clear to us what our Christian duty is regarding those in genuine need. So how should we properly use our money? We should use it in lending or giving to those in need, and in the Lord's service, to finance, for example, a Christian ministry, such as a ministry of preaching the word of God.


People need more than money or university degrees. They need to hear the word of God, the word of life that saves them from their sins that drag them down into a dark pit of guilt and depression of spirit and close off their hope of eternal life with God in heaven. They need to hear the redemption of Christ preached to them. They need to hear God's moral law (the Ten Commandments) preached to them to make them realize the seriousness of their situation and how far they are from God and from what he desires of them. They need to be invited to repent and to promise to amend their life. And they need to hear how Christ's blood, if he is accepted with faith, will wash them clean from all their sins and make them as white as snow, as Isaiah prophesied, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool" (Isaiah 1:18).


People need to hear the word of God tell them that being washed in Christ's blood is their only hope of salvation, for "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Christ's blood alone, shed on the cross for our sins, in punishment for them, has made true and just reparation for our sins, atoning for them before God. So it is not just any faith that saves, but only faith in Jesus Christ, for, as Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). No one else has atoned for our sins; only him.


So how should we use our wealth? We should use it for those in need. And what is man's greatest need? Man's greatest need is hearing the word of God, hearing the word of life.


In many ways we are experiencing a famine of hearing the word of God today, for how many priests today really preach the true gospel message, the basic Christian message, the apostolic proclamation or kerygma of salvation in Jesus Christ? We are in many ways experiencing what Amos prophesied: "‘Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wonder from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it'" (Amos 8:11-12).


Let us not be part of that famine. Let us truly preach the basic gospel message, and let us use our wealth to see to it that it is faithfully, truthfully, and effectively preached.

 

 

Archives
» 2017-2018 Year B English
» 2016-2017 Year A English
» 2015-2016 Year C English
» 2014-2015 Year B English
» 2013-2014 Year A English
» 2012-2013 Year C English
» 2011-2012 Year B English
» 2010-2011 Year A English
» 2009-2010 Year C English
» 2008 - 2009 Year B English
To receive my current daily Biblical sermons by email
Subscribe to DailyBiblicalSermons Free:
Enter Your Email Below and Click Subscribe




See my books!

Desert Living

Desert Living

Desert Living

All books are available and searchable on Amazon and Kindle.

Daily Biblical Sermons
© Copyright 2007-2009 Rev. Steven Scherrer, www.DailyBiblicalSermons.com. All are welcome to use the materials on this site, either via spoken or written form. However, if used in written form or retransmitted via internet or email, please INCLUDE the above copyright indication. Thank you.