Thursday, 22 February 2018

Does Wealth Bring Contentment?

 
 A SERMON BY FATHER FRANCIS MAPLE O.F.M. Cap. 

DOES WEALTH BRING CONTENTMENT?
Lk. 12:13-21

We can’t live on fresh air.  Money plays a large part in all our lives.  Most of us have to concern ourselves with earning a living.  That concern occupies a sizeable portion of our waking hours.  Making ends meet requires careful planning and hard work.  We also have to provide for the possibility of accidents and the probability of old age.  To ignore such matters is to invite disaster for ourselves and our family.  In this world no one can lead a responsible life without giving some time and attention to money.

Jesus realised this and so devoted much of His teaching to how we are to cope with money and possessions.  In the Gospel He told the story of a farmer who had accumulated a fortune.  His wealth was measured not in money, but in produce.  His land had produced such a bountiful harvest that he had to build additional storage space.  He had enough to last him for the rest of his life.  He could live comfortably, even lavishly, without ever working another day.

The surprising part of this story is the way Jesus ended it.  We would have said the farmer was a tremendous success, a man to be admired and even envied.  We would hold him up as an example for young people to follow, but Jesus did the exact opposite.  He called that man a fool.  He labelled his life a failure and warned others not to repeat his mistake.

Why do we think differently from Jesus?  Here was a man who had made a good living, who had managed to save, provide for his old age and was able to take an early retirement.  What's his mistake?  According to Jesus the farmer had put all his efforts into accumulating wealth for the future, with no thought of his eternal salvation.  This was foolishness indeed.

Let us go back to the story in the Gospel.  What did the farmer do wrong?  He was not dishonest, nor did he cheat anyone of what was rightfully theirs.  But in his eagerness to acquire wealth he left no time for God.  There were not enough hours in the day.  He was up early in the morning and had no time to pray before starting work.  By the time he had finished his work in the evening he was too tired to pray.  As a result, all that mattered was his work.  God had gradually been pushed out of his life.

All this wealth and financial security had made the farmer complacent.  He began to think that he did not need God in his life.  He had made himself cosy and comfortable and he had protected himself from every danger that life could bring.  With all his money he had built his own heaven on earth.  That is why Jesus said, "How hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Having amassed his wealth, the farmer became greedy.  He wanted to keep everything for himself, rather than share with anyone else.  This was what Jesus condemned not the fact that the farmer had become rich, but that he had stored up treasure for himself alone.  How richly God would have rewarded him, if only he had shown some generosity to those less fortunate.

Most of us may feel that the story of a rich farmer has very little relevance to our own lives.  We are not wealthy landowners; we are ordinary people struggling to make a living.  We have a mortgage to pay, children to feed and clothe.  It is wise to save money and make provision for our old age.  These responsibilities have to be faced we cannot evade them.  God knows all this, but despite all the pressures He wants us to put Him first in our lives.  In fact, if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all these things will be catered for.

We may never be extraordinarily rich, like the farmer in the parable, but do we set our hearts on acquiring possessions?  Do we think we would be happier if only we had a bigger house and car, a faster computer, the latest music centre or a better three piece suite?  Hasn’t experience shown us that happiness is transitory, and it won't be very long before we are looking for more, bigger and better things?  If we really think that these things will make us happy and contented, are we making the same mistake as the farmer?

Whether we are rich or poor, there will always be demands made of us.  We are forever being confronted with collections for charities of one kind or another, and it can be very irritating and exasperating.  But let us not forget that in comparison with the Third World we are millionaires.  We can afford to share a little of our wealth, and in giving let us give cheerfully, because God loves a cheerful giver.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for all you have given us.  Let us learn to be content and not to forget those who are in need of our help.  Let us not make the same mistake as the farmer in Your story who thought there were pockets in shrouds.
 NOTES 
Father Francis Maple is a Franciscan monk who celebrated his 50th Anniversary as a priest in 2013. Father Francis has sung in public over the years (and still does) in malls, shopping centres and at his own concerts and has raised over £1m for charity. He has also written several books (sermons, cooking recipes, jokes), and has contributed (and still does) to many newspaper columns and Catholic newspapers and magazines. He spends a lot of time travelling throughout the UK leading Missions in various Catholic churches. 
DAILY SERMONS FROM FATHER FRANCIS MAPLE
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19 comments:

  1. Yep. As my father said,'money can't buy happiness, but it makes the misery easier to bear.'

    As you said, it's not wealth. It's what we do with what we've got.

    Someone else (maybe) said 'I've been rich and I've been poor. Rich is better.' :)

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    1. Thank you for visiting me, Brian. Much appreciated.

      Nothing wrong in being rich; as long as we know how to use it wisely a generously.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  2. Amen! So true. Faith and family are so much more important than money and status. There are people in my life who haven't learned this yet. I continue to pray for them.

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    1. That's all we can do sometimes, Terri. Pray for them.

      May God bless you richly always.

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  3. We can have every possession we could ever imagine, but if we do not have God first in our lives, we are paupers, indeed. Great thoughts from Fr. Francis!
    Blessings, Victor!

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    1. You are so right, Martha. So right.

      I have known Fr Francis for years and posted some of his songs on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDkeQvsGyKU&list=PLCGLgIPutQI8RLMu5avYQgoERNg3NHgRt

      God bless.

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  4. You said "Nothing wrong in being rich; as long as we know how to use it wisely a generously." I agree with you, you hear so much about people with money going broke,losing everything..Money can make people go crazy,until it is too late.
    Money is not well should NOT be the most important thing in ones life. It SHOULD be Our Heavenly Father... So many think more on money then the MOST important thing, and that is living ,and walking as God wants us to..
    If one walks and lives as God wants us to
    THEN and ONLY THEN are you RICK :-)

    Blessings, Renee.
    P.s, thanks for popping over to my blog ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How nice to see you visiting here Renee. Thank you. Please call again.

      You are so right that money is not everything in life.

      God bless.

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    2. Oh I saved you to my Blog list :-)

      Delete
  5. The words are so true but unfortunately we do have to reminded every now and then.

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    1. I agree Bill. The thirst for wealth never ends with some people.

      God bless you my friend.

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  6. and how much is enough. People keep accumulating more and more.
    Contentment for me comes from being thankful for all that I do have already.

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    1. Too true, Happyone. The problem is that people do not know what is enough. It is all fear of being without, I think.

      God bless.

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  7. I am curious if the Father is your personal friend, Victor? He is a wise man!
    Blessings!

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    1. Yes, Lulu. He is a personal friend I have known for a number of years. A remarkable man indeed.

      I hope and pray you are keeping well.

      God bless you, Lulu.

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  8. Thank you. Such a wonderful reminder for us ... and a good explanation of the balance we must strive for. I hope you are having a blessed Lent.

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    1. Many thanx, Michael. Wishing you a Blessed Lent as well.

      God bless.

      Delete

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God bless you.

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