THINGS BELOW AND THINGS ABOVE
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT THE HIGH HILL UNITED
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
2 AUGUST 1992
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Today, we are living in what has been called tough economic times.
We have many people unemployed, but their number is still less than 10% of the population.
There are places in the world where there is far greater unemployment.
But it is easier for us to see what is going on here at home; that is, when it comes to the loss of our income.
But this is just a symptom of the real problem.
The real problem has been going on for many years, and it is the results of the past that have caught up with us now.
We want and we want, and we desire more and more things; and in the process we fail to calculate the cost, either in the present, or how we are going to pay for it in the future.
And then we add to this problem with our attitude of doing less and less for what we get paid.
This is not in keeping with Judeo-Christian teachings.
Very few people save up for the future; thus, they have little or no reserves to take care of themselves during the tough times, in addition to being able to pay for the things they purchased in the past.
We want more and better things, but we don't seem to want to produce more and better things ourselves.
We're becoming lazy and greedy as a society; thus we will continue to have less and less.
We must overcome the attitude that we are owed a living.
We always seem to find money for foreign governments, and we spend far too much in our own government; but we have homeless and hungry people here at home, too.
We have many more without proper health care.
We say that people have these problems because they are lazy, and that may be true for some, but there are far more who have these problems through no direct fault of their own.
We have our priorities backwards.
And the greatest of these priorities is God. Unless we begin, as a society,
to put God first in our lives, we will continue to fall in our downward spiral,
until one day we crash.
With God first in our lives, we will work harder and produce better quality.
With God first in our lives, we will just naturally help those who are less fortunate than we are.
With God first in our lives, we will respect each other and listen to each otherís ideas.
With God first in our lives, we won't be so eager to go to war, and may even be able to defuse it before it starts.
With God first in our lives, we will be more loving and compassionate to the whole of God's creation.
Jesus encountered a situation that reflects much of our society's thinking process today.
Let's take a look at what took place, as recorded in Luke 12:13-21.
13. And someone in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me."
We are not told anything more about this man or his brother; or, for that matter, whether or not this was their father's intent or whether it was an act of greed on the part of this man or his brother.
But from the way Jesus responds, we can assume that greed was playing some part in this situation.
14. But He said to him, "Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbiter over you?"
He is dismissing this request because it is not based upon the will of God, and because it concerns earthly things, and not heavenly things.
So Jesus turns to the rest of the crowd.
15. And He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
In other words, we can't take it with us when we die.
Jesus wants us to take our eyes off earthly things and place them on heavenly things.
And once we are firmly established in the heavenly places, we are to look back upon the earth we live in and pursue the important things.
16. And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a certain rich man was very productive.
17. "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'
18. "And he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry." '
20. "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'
This is exactly what we have been doing with our economy. We have lowered taxes of the rich in the hope that they would invest in the future of our economy and put others to work; but most were greedy and did what this man did.
They invested for themselves, and while it produced some jobs to make the products and the barns, their investment ended there, and so did the jobs.
This is bad economics.
This is bad business sense.
The rich should be taxed more, unless they truly invest in the future, in which case they should be taxed less, for then their money is going directly into our economic future.
Now, let's assume that this man's attitude was different.
The barns he had were already good, for he was storing things in them.
It doesn't make sense to throw that value away. If you need more space, simply build another, smaller barn.
Now you have money left over to invest in the future and to help others.
If he wants to retire, he could take some of the money and use it to hire a
manager to keep his farm productive.
He could take some of that surplus money and invest with other farmers to help make them more productive, too; and they, in turn, would hire more people.
The economy would grow and there would be fewer people in need.
And he could help those who were in true need.
This is a proper work ethic.
But this man didn't do this.
And Jesus said to the crowd:
21. "So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
If we are greedy, and invest as this man did, we run the risk of ending up with nothing.
We might even lose heaven itself.
I believe that God also wants even those with little, to invest in the future.
And I am confident, that the Lord our God will show us the proper way, if we keep our focus upon Him.
It is as Paul tells us in Colossians 3:1-4.
1. If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3. For you have died [to your pride and selfishness] and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
This is where our real storage barns should be.
We just have to make up our minds whether we are concerned about the things below or the things above.
No matter who we are, we can all produce a little more and do it with a little more care and make it a little better.
And pretty soon, everything becomes a whole lot better.
Then we will all be able to do a whole lot more for the Lord.
And hopefully make this a more loving, compassionate, and peaceful world for our fellow human beings, the animals, and the environment in which we all live.
See Our Readers' Comments
Your Comments are welcome
| Home Page | Sermons Archive |
| Home Page | Animal Issues | Archive | Art and Photos | Articles | Bible | Books | Church and Religion | Discussions | Health | Humor | Letters | Links | Nature Studies | Poetry and Stories | Quotations | Recipes | What's New? |
Thank you for visiting all-creatures.org.