Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)
Scripture Readings*: Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15, Psalm 96:1-6, 14-16, 1 Timothy 6:6-19, Luke 16:19-31
Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
Family land was considered to be a sacred inheritance. It was important to keep it from passing into the hands of someone else (1 Kings 21:3). Jeremiah’s act of obedience preceded illumination. It required great faith to purchase land when silver could have been used to purchase scarce food. In addition, to purchase property when the Babylonians were poised to overrun the land was not a prudent decision. However, Jeremiah’s symbolic act expressed confidence that life would return to normal, and title deeds would once again be valid… a remarkable statement of hope for the future!
1 Timothy 6:6-19
Some argue that Paul is suggesting that money is evil. This is not accurate. He stresses that the love of money opens the door for all sorts of complications and problems in our life. When we desire anything other than, or more than, wanting to do God’s will, a terrible conflict is created.
It is only when we abandon our desire for riches that we can we be truly free. Wealth – like every other gift – is from God. Riches can be used for good, as can any other resource. The attraction of money always seeks to distract us from our commitment to do God’s will.
In the 1st century, and in rabbinical Judaism, giving to the destitute was considered a great good deed, meritorious in God’s eyes (cf. Matt. 6:1–4). In this parable, the rich man discovers that wealth cannot help him in death. What we do with our resources while we have them is what matters most. His desire to spare his living relatives from peril is noble, but not practical. The truth is… without honest repentance, people will not listen; even if Moses or the prophets were to warn them.
Scale of Economy
A stable job. Retirement accounts. Savings. Property Values. In the past few years, we’ve seen how all these measures of economic security can evaporate. As we’ve ridden the roller coaster of the Great Recession, we’ve seen how quickly circumstances can change. Though painful, these changes often reveal true wealth and the value of a person’s character.
In today’s readings, we’re reminded that financial resources are a gift from God meant to further His Kingdom – in our lives and the lives of those around us. We are blessed to be a blessing! When we view our resources through this lens, we begin to live generously. This generosity creates a spiritual wealth of eternal riches measured by God’s scale. But it also creates a physical generosity that impacts the lives of those around us.
When we live our lives by the scale of God’s economy, we make investments of hope that yield an eternal return of purpose and provision – in our lives and the lives of those we touch!
Prayer for Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost – Almighty God, give me Your grace to live generously, storing up eternal treasures in Your heavenly Kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C