St. Paul Lutheran Church in Runge holds Sunday morning worship services at 8:30 a.m. All visitors are welcome to come and study the word of the Lord and worship our Savior with Pastor Randal Bruno and the congregation.
Pastor Bruno wrote the following sermon in the September newsletter.
Luke 12:13-14 ESV Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?"
One had more of a gentle soul but still had a watchful eye and a general mistrust of others. One had many problems with the law and was willing to do things his way no matter the outcome. The third was a true scoundrel, well, at least everyone else thought so and he was inclined to prove it through his actions.--They all though held one thing in common. The were bound together, not by relations, but by being filled with an age old sin called greed.
If you are a fan of western movies you may recognize the characters I described above. But if you have ever been around a family that has spent a lot of their time seriously squabbling over what money, land, or valuable items are left on this world after someone's death, then you may have actually seen some characters like the ones described above. In the movie they are called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. And in the aftermath of fighting over an inheritance many families know each other by the same names.
I have personally seen some pretty nasty things go on between family members whose sole focus is to get their hands on as much of the inheritance as possible. Most of them are totally convinced that an inheritance is something they both deserve and are entitled to. And no amount of words would sway them otherwise. I have seen family members, those who have lived near and those who have lived purposely far away, circle the dying like vultures. One time I had a parishioner that took his father-in-law to the hospital because he had pneumonia. The father-in-law lived alone; his wife had passed away many years earlier. Once at the hospital word spread fast that he was there. The family though did not come to see him. One that lived away from home and seldom returned went instead to the father-in-law's house and started marking furniture and other items with little white pieces of paper to indicate what they wanted upon the father-in-law's death. But he did not die for a good number of years and came home a few days later to find all the marked items.
In the above passage, Jesus is asked to arbitrate an inheritance. In his day most often any inheritance went to the first born son. And like now, there was never any guarantee, there was never any absolute promise, that an inheritance was forthcoming. Therefore some had and many didn't. You could call it the luck of the draw. Jesus' response to this request to play arbitrator seems a little harsh. But then again, he most likely knew what he did not want to get into. And he knew for sure what greed can do to the heart.
I find it interesting that he was asked this question of dividing an inheritance just as he is about to share his. As God's first and only born there is no real reason that he would have to share what is rightly his, but he does. The Father is neither dead nor dying, but his wealth is still about to be shared. And the Son makes the same choice-he too will share with all who believe. No reason to circle like vultures-there is plenty for all. No reason to be filled with greed. No reason to fear that you will not get your share.
Perhaps we should at least consider visiting him in his house more often. There is nothing bad or ugly about this, only good.