Lenten Meditation for Feb. 18, 2013/Second Monday of Great Lent
- February 18, 2013
2nd Monday of Lent
Genesis 35: 1 - 5
II Samuel 16: 5-12
Hosea 2: 21-3: 5
St. James 4: 7-5: 6
I Timothy 2: 1-15
St. Luke 6: 27-36
��Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.�� - James 5:1
St. James has used very powerful language when talking about the rich. The Bible verse given above raises a few questions. Does God hate the rich people? Is it a sin to earn wealth? Will the rich people go to hell while all the poor people go to heaven? Let us try to examine the scripture to understand the message in Jesus�� teachings on money.
Joseph of Arimathea was a rich person who prepaid his own funeral and then donated his tomb for Jesus. Forsaking treasures on earth for the kingdom will be rewarded. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and a rich person. Yet Jesus went to his house and dined with him. Abraham was a rich man, yet he was called a friend of God. God blessed Joseph with wealth and success. Solomon was blessed with wealth and wisdom. The Roman centurion who believed (Matt. 8:5�C13; Luke 7:1�C5) was rich and powerful, yet humble. He told Jesus, �DI��m not worthy for you to come to my house. Just say a word, and my servant will be healed.�� Being rich did not disqualify him. Jesus saw the humility in him, and his servant was healed. God blessed Job with wealth, even though he had to face tough trials. These examples show that God does not consider being rich as sinful. However, money can be used as a tool by Satan. Money in itself is not evil, but if used inappropriately, it becomes our master.
The craving for money, fame and happiness is nothing new. Two thousand years ago Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:25). Why did Jesus say this? Too often, getting rich becomes our number one priority in life. We spend most of our time making wealth, spending it for fame, or multiplying it. When our outlook, our values and our decisions are controlled by money, we lose the divine purpose of our existence in this world. For a balloon to get its shape, it needs air. However, when it is filled with too much air, it breaks. Similarly, for a boat to sail, water is essential. Nevertheless, if water gets inside the boat, it could eventually sink. Our outlook on money should be similar.
You could own millions of dollars worth of shares of big companies like AIG or Lehman Brothers. However, one fine morning, you could wake up being penniless, as we have seen during the recent financial turmoil. If you measure your value based on your bank balance, it is easy to end up disappointed. Money is a measure of our worth, not just in financial terms alone. Our education, our skills, values, principles, our time, and our priorities are indicators of resources that define our worth. In essence, our wealth is a measure of our usefulness. Now, the question is, how should we use our wealth? We have a choice to use our wealth for our own selfish interests only, or for the benefit of others. God wants us to use our wealth responsibly and for His glory.
We live in a world where we are tempted to believe that money can buy happiness. However, we see many who have plenty of money, but despite money, they feel emptiness. You could be financially rich, but spiritually bankrupt. Beyond temporary and superficial happiness, money cannot offer long-term happiness. Life becomes meaningful when we use our wealth and resources in a meaningful way that is pleasing to God. If we seek His Kingdom first, He will provide for us abundantly, and we could find meaning and purpose in our lives.
Heavenly Father, help us to come to you and know you like Zacchaeus and Joseph of Arimathea did. Come into our hearts and renew us with Your mind. We are weak and sinful, and we need Your help to lead a meaningful life. Guide us to use our wealth, our skills, our talents and blessings for Your glory. Amen.
'Lenten Devotionals' published by MGOCSM Philadelphia