Sermon about the Christian faith

Our greatest wealth, the Christian faith

August 18, 2020

the parable of the unreasonable rich manIn the Scripture, Christ tells a parable about a rich man who reaped an abundant harvest.Luke 12: 16‒21). It raises issues that are of great relevance to our present lives and addresses the fundamental questions of time and infinity, temporary comfort and eternal life, our immortal soul and our finite existence in the flesh, especially as our bodies become so precarious the further we become advanced in our years.

The Scripture reminds us that our earthly life is limited. The rich man in the parable was probably a good farmer, and he was lucky to reap a harvest like he had never had before. He must have worked very hard; in the past, he may have suffered droughts, and gone deep into debt. He had a windfall, and perhaps he was not quite sure what to do with it. He might, like the people of commerce of today, rush to exploit it by building more storage facilities, win more market share, make even more money and have a good life at last. With his newly acquired wealth, he could afford to hire labourers, and not toil away in the field himself. He might enlist the help of some marketing agents. He might even set up a marketing department, which would make perfect business sense!

In the eyes of the Lord, however, this gentleman was a madman, as he was going to leave this world that same day and travel to eternity. What would he bring with him on his journey? His great harvest? His dreams of a rich and luxurious life in this world? With his parable, the Lord teaches us an important lesson: we need to become rich towards God. If that rich man had called his neighbours and said: "Come and take a share of my great harvest", what difference would it have made in his eternal life? The people would have remembered him in their prayers, and the rich harvest would have earned him a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Instead, he preferred to keep the harvest to himself. The harvest that God had sent him.

The harvest was a test. He failed it by acting in the way of the world.

All of us are capable of becoming rich towards the Lord. To do so, there is no need to have abundant riches. Good intentions and benevolence are all that is needed, and God will give us plenty of opportunities to offer our support, comfort, and consolation to some good people. There will be many who will need such help, and we will grow rich towards the Lord by giving it. Why would anyone want to spend their lives enriching themselves? Who would want to hoard all those riches? The people on the Fortune list - one wealthier than another possess estates worth billions of dollars, yet how unfortunate they must be! The devil has already taken them in their fold, by making them dependent on their worldly assets.

Since Christ came into the world, his teachings have defied every notion of the modern world that lies in sin. People are finding it hard to embrace Christ. A bitter struggle is underway. The powerful of this world have met every word of wisdom with great anger and fear; they are afraid that people will begin to realise the futility of hoarding the wealth of this world and of attaching themselves to things that will eventually perish; that will instead look towards the assets that are lasting and imperishable.

We are already very rich, and our estate is truly fabulous and genuine. It is our faith in God, His infinite love. God sheds the grace of His love on the people; it empowers people to start families, have children and raise them in piety and prayer. The devil is intent on taking this away, and so far he has been quite successful. It is thus a great relief for us to see new families being established, and children being born; to welcome them at Church and watch them take the Holy Communion. We rejoice when the children are learning from their parents the art of humility, service to another, and love.

We should all be proud to be Christians, and embrace the opportunity to come to church and pray without restriction. For there is no way to know what may come tomorrow. Surely, our loyalty to Christ is not good news for our enemy. There is no reason for the Devil to pat us on our backs for being with the Lord, or to stop his attempts to separate us from Him. Our enemy is not going to leave us alone. By uniting with Christ, we expose ourselves to enemy attack, which we must resist. The way of Christ is a very narrow one. But we must persevere, and stay with Christ to the end. Take heart, for the Lord has overcome this world (John 16: 33). We, too, are challenged to overcome the world of sin, insanity and deformity and seek life eternal at this very moment. But we can only do so by making ourselves rich towards God.

May the Lord save and protect all of us.

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

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