Pentecost 11
August 16, 1998
Luke 12:15, 21
"What Does Life Consist of?"

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Introduction:  Jesus said, " A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions". If it does not consist of material goods, of what does life consist?  Most people feel that money is the key to real living. After winning the lottery a woman exclaimed, "Now I'm gonna start living!" People need to know what makes life worthwhile.  This morning let us consider this important pressing question: "What does life consist of?"  To give us direction consider Jesus' words of verse 15 of our text for today:

     "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kings of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions"

[1] What does life not consist of?

A. It does not consist in the length of days.

    1.   David says in Psalms 90 "The years of our life are three-score and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore.."  70 or 80 years is the average span of life for us as humans.  Notice what David says in the second half of the verse "yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away" (Psalm 90:10)

even if a man or woman reaches the year of 90 and beyond people are tempted to say "That person has lived a good life!"

   2.  Does length of days determine a quality of life? The length of days is a gift of God of course but what you and I need to ask ourselves is this " what fills those days and years?  Is our time spent in being productive, serving others?  How do we spend our time? Are we using our time wisely? Do we spend more time with activities that include only ourselves or do we include others and serve others during the course of our days.  

B. Our life does not consist in money either.

   1.     True, we need money to live. But what is adequate compensation? What is your net worth?  Is it determined by how much we have saved in the bank?  God has given each of us talents, abilities and gifts, which we can use to serve others. This is what molds us as persons. We are called to be productive yet we must remember the Creator who has endowed us with His gifts, which enable us to make an impact in our families, our community and our parish.

2.          The issue is not money but the love of money, which attaches itself to pangs of lust, and greed, which forces us to turn, or energies inward rather then outward. Greed and covetousness is what turns us to selfishness and self-centeredness. 

C. Nor does our life consist in pleasure

1. Wise King Solomon found a balance for life. He found contentment when he learned to put his priorities in order. Listen to His encouraging words found in our Old Testament lesson for today:

"A man can do nothing better then to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see is from the hand of God for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment? [Ecclesiastes 2:24]

How much confidence would you have in your surgeon who said "I've never liked this job but I have bills and obligations so I've stuck here!  When we find satisfaction in our work it ceases to be a job for us rather it becomes a calling, a vocation, a profession, and a way of living.

2. We need this balance in our life for without it we will be seeking contentment by going from one pleasurable experience followed by another.  As the once popular hit song from the late 1980's described this type of living "I keep working for the week-end!"

The end result of basing our life on one pleasure stacked on another is that we run out of experiences or we exhaust ourselves and find ourselves still empty, still seeking contentment, still searching for peace.

Transition:  Jesus simply said "Peace I leave thee, My peace I give thee. Not as the world gives it. Jesus gives us something better. He gives us Himself where we can find His eternal and lasting peace.  Knowing Jesus as our Savior and knowing that He cares for our lives gives us a sense of contentment. Listen to verse 21 of our text for today:

"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God"

[2] What does life consist of?

A. It means in being rich in spiritual possessions? And what does it mean to be rich in this area of our lives. It comes in having reliance upon God. Listen to Proverbs 3:4-5:  "Trust in the Lord with your whole heart, lean not on your own understanding, in everything acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths

1. We must have a true faith and reliance upon God. "Trust in the Lord with your whole heart..."

2. Our reliance upon God demands that He control and direct us. He alone must lead us. He must guide us. David reminds us "...lean not on your own understanding..."

3. Jesus alone gets the credit. He is to be given the honor and the glory. He alone is to be praised. "...in everything acknowledge Him...

4. Know that He is in control. He is our captain  "...He will direct your path"

B. To be content in what God gives you makes you rich in spiritual possessions.

1.  The Lord will provide for you. Consider what He has promised in His Word. Reflect on how He has provided for you in the past. Will God change? Of course not! He is the Lord and He can not no will He change! [Mal. 3]  The Lord has promised that He will provide.

2. With the Lord in control of our life with Him directing us the situations in our life we have His promise that He will direct us no matter what the circumstances might be and no matter what might come our way. As He directs us we respond in living our lives for Him. As the hymn writer reminds us "With the Lord begin thy task, Jesus will direct it!"

Conclusion: What does our Life consist of?  John F. Kennedy once said: "From those to whom much is given, much is required.  And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us--recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities--our success or failure, in whatever station of life we live, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

Were we truly men of courage?

Were we truly men of judgment?

Were we truly men of integrity?

Were we truly men of dedication?

Jesus Christ has said "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions..."And now there abides for us these three, faith hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.  May it be said of each of us that we have found the dearest and greatest treasure of life and may we throughout the course of our pilgrimage in this life share those riches with those that we hold so dear in our hearts. That is what life consists of! In Jesus' Name. Amen

+ Soli Deo Gloria+