Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
Sunday of God, not Mammon
September 9, 2018
You Are Worth More Than Money
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A true capitalist can’t complain about price gouging because a thing’s value is based upon what people are willing to pay for it. Scarcity after a hurricane makes water worth a fortune.
But the value of the most precious things in life cannot be measured by how much we're willing to pay for it. The value of human life isn’t determined by how much they want to live.
What does give our lives value isn’t what we think it’s worth, but what God was willing to pay for it.
God made us in His image and redeemed us with His blood. That is why we are more valuable than birds. And though birds are innocent, He did not become a bird. Instead He became a Man because we are guilty. So that’s what we are worth: the life of the Son, the cost that He was willing to pay to restore us to His image and righteousness.
On the other hand, when you worry and daydream about money, you cheapen your own life. You confess that your value as a human being can be measured by money. You don’t have to bow down and pray to a dollar bill to worship money.
This is also why children are often seen as financial burdens rather than blessings from God. People plan babies for when they think they can afford them, and by that they mean until they think they won’t have give up too much of their own stuff. They have no intention of sacrificing for their children or raising up good citizens. Rather tthey are just getting children the way people get pets, to make themselves feel good. In the same, but worse way, babies are killed in the womb because they cost too much or will negatively impact someone’s life.
When you make Money your god, when you worry about it, when you fantasize about it, you cheapen your own life. You are saying that your value as a human being can be measured by money.
When Money becomes the measure of the good life, our souls are destroyed. Jesus harshly warns us against it. The worship of money causes money to be more precious than things that cannot be bought or sold: integrity, a clean conscience, faithfulness, piety, and love. You cannot buy or sell these things but you can give them away and lose them forever. They are far more valuable than money, but when you serve money as your god, when money occupies your thoughts day and night and you are constantly planning for what you would do with your money if you struck it rich, you are saying that money is what makes life worthwhile and money is what you need, the one thing that could help you.
Repent. Jesus says we cannot serve two masters. We agree. We say that we worship the only real God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. None of us says, “I worship money.”
But we need to look closely. What do we worry about? What do we fantasize about? What do we think would solve our problems?
For the most part, we think Money and the devil is happy to agree. He will tell you that your job is more important than going to church because you have to make money, because you have to have it or you won’t have food and you won’t have a house and you’ll die.
That’s a lie. The Lord God Himself will provide what you need. And what you need above all else is to hear God’s Word and to receive His Sacraments, lest you live this life, but be spiritually dead and wind up in hell.
So also the devil will tell you that your kids need something--mostly sports and what they learn there—more important than anything else, more than reading or times tables or the Bible. Therefore, sports must be the important thing on Sunday morning.
That’s a lie. We and our children need to be taught God’s Word--taught that we are sinners and that Jesus died for us and where we now fit into this world. We need this teaching more than we need anything else in life—more than food, clothing, house, school, sports, or any other good thing. Those things all pass away; the Word of the Lord endures forever.
Jesus says: You cannot serve two masters. You will either hate the one and love the other or be loyal to the one and despise the other.
Jesus calls us to faith. The Lord takes care of the birds. More than that, He makes a promise to be your God. He has come to save you – not birds or flowers or fallen angels. So He says: Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Often, it seems to me, the Holy Spirit shows us our true wealth by painfully taking away the illusions of money and health, that is to say, He makes us suffer so that we know what is important. Who cares who won the Packer/Bear game or what grade you got on the final or if the lawn needs mowed or not when your child is on the operating table. We have what can’t be bought or earned, but if life is too easy we forget it and we become easy prey for the devil. We have the forgiveness of sins. We expect and await the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting which is already begun in us. Sometimes we need to face death, face sorrow and hardship, to realize it and to see that money can’t buy life. To know this, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, to be His child by Baptism, to eat His living Body and drink His Blood, this is richness beyond money.
Those who worship mammon's money perish with their god. Not us. Not you. You worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are Baptized. You are a catechumen of Jesus. You hear His Word and believe. Your future is secured in the hands of him who died for you and rose again. He is enough to endure sickness and poverty, scorn and violence. He is enough face death with confidence, because you are worth more than a bird.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Thanks be to God!
Pastor Boehringer has been preaching Christ and Him crucified to himself and to his congregation at Gethsemane since 2009.