The Measure of Our Wealth

By Rob Blezard, August 8, 2013

Then Jesus told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’  -LUKE 12:16-21

Here in 21st century North America, we do an excellent job of knowing exactly how rich we are in things of this world.

I should know: Every month, without fail, I receive statements detailing to the penny the balances in my checking, savings and retirement accounts. Also without fail I receive statements detailing to the penny my liabilities in credit cards and other debt.

To make things even easier, I use a household accounting software program to put all this information together. The result? I know exactly how much money I have month by month.

We do a good job of tracking how rich we are in worldly wealth. But we are not so good when it comes to knowing how rich we are towards God.

The point of all of Luke 12’s teachings about wealth is to underscore our lopsided value system – we are obsessed with working ourselves to the bone to become rich in possessions, but we are impoverished when it comes to the true riches that God is eager to give us in abundance.

It’s a trap that snares many. The parable of the rich fool reminds us that being rich in wealth but poor towards God was a problem long before the 21st century!

We keep close track of our worldly wealth. But what statements would measure how rich we are toward God? How would your “monthly statements” look in each of these measures:

– Daily deep prayer.
– Weekly church attendance.
– Daily Bible reading.
– Hours of service to church and community.
– Hours spent nourishing spiritual relationships.
– Giving to church – a tithe and beyond.

Some may recognize these as the “Six Marks of Discipleship” listed in Michael Foss’ wonderful 2009 book, Real Faith for Real Life. It’s a very accessible guide to the spiritual life. The book correctly asserts that the more attention we pay to the six marks, the deeper we will grow as disciples of Christ.

Through monthly bank and finance statements most of us know exactly how rich we are in worldly wealth. Maybe we need to start preparing “statements” to keep track of exactly how rich we are towards God. How about it? Are you up to the challenge?


(Photo © Borys Shevchuk – Fotolia)

About the Author

Rob Blezard is the website content editor for the Stewardship of Life Institute and serves as an assistant to the Bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA, in central Pennsylvania. See more posts by .

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