After a few years in the ministry I realized that I didn’t know anything about leadership and administration. Thus on the Monday after a January blizzard in 1975 I drove to Mankato, MN for the first of many seminars. In one of those seminars we received a list of satisfiers and dissatisfiers. The one I remember most clearly is “Money is not a satisfier but it is a dissatisfier.”
The Old Testament Reading in the LCMS for Sunday from Ecclesiates 5:10-20 according to the Revised English Bible puts it this way: “No one who loves money can ever have enough…When riches increase, so does the number of parasites living off them.”
The author adds that wealth can be lost through one unlucky venture. We were born naked and naked is how we will depart this life.
The epistle from Hebrews 4:13 we read, “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Striving after money will not be anyone’s salvation; it is better to strive to enter the rest that God gives in Christ.
In the Gospel lesson the disciples ask Jesus, who can be saved? Jesus answers, “For men it is impossible, but not for God; everything is possible for God.” Jesus knew because that’s what the angel told Mary when she questioned how she could give birth since she was still a virgin. Jesus knew about what God could do since he was God.
Just as our salvation comes from God so, Ecclesiastes concludes, does whatever ever wealth we accumulate. Vicar Shults mentioned yesterday in his sermon that his salary as a vicar (no vicar in the LCMS ever got rich being a vicar) put him in the top 7% in the world and when he added his wife’s salary they fell into the top 3%. The author of Ecclesiastes says, that our work, and our wealth are all a gift from God. And Jesus reminded us last week that our wealth makes us responsible to care for the poor. Then we can be satisfied as we take joy in satisfying the needs of other creatures of God.