Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Matthew 13:12
“The parable of the sower is not often considered by those concerned with the loss of the church’s status and membership in Europe and America, but it is hard to imagine any text more relevant to the situation of the churches in the West. Why we are dying seems very simple. It is hard to be a disciple and be rich. Surely, we may think, it cannot be that simple, but Jesus certainly seems to think it is that simple. The lure of wealth and the cares of this world produced by wealth quite simply darken and choke our imaginations…”
Stanley Hauerwas in Matthew (BTCB; Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2006) 129.
In the last six days of 2018, I will reflect on biblical texts linked to my theme for 2018, abundance. Today’s Scripture verse comes after the parable of the sower when Jesus explains its meaning. At first glance, it is confusing to read. Why would those who have be given more and those who don’t have lose whatever they had?
Hauerwas offers a helpful explanation for this enigmatic statement of Jesus. People think having an abundance of money is the answer to life. Even disciples of Jesus fall into the trap of believing this. As God blesses them with resources, they tend to trust in the resources rather than God who supplies. How do we avoid falling into this trap?
The key is to put it to work faithfully what God has supplied in order to be resupplied and not have our supply removed from us. In short, we depend on God and not money. Wealth only ruins those who hold on to it. Those who don’t remain faithful will crumble and waste away because wealth does not build the kingdom, obedience does.
Those who hold on to wealth end up finding their perspective darkened, their faith choked, and they fail to produce an abundance of fruit. Their allegiance to money contributes to their struggles, and so it is with the church in the West. Her wealth has largely destroyed her. However, not all churches and not all disciples have succumbed. Have you
Father, teach us by your Holy Spirit to use what we have so we don’t lose what we have. Help us steward whatever wealth you supply obediently, trusting in your ongoing resources to sustain us and so that our lives will bear much fruit for your glory. Hear our prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.Read more