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Summary: 9th Sunday After Pentecost (C) This evangelistic sermon calls people to examine their faith and life, while also calling them to be that evangelistic voice, so that all can come into a relationship with Jesus.

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Rev. Karl W. Kruse

Elim Evangelical Lutheran Church

Ogden, Utah

August 1, 2004

Luke 12:13-21 NRSV) Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” {14} But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” {15} And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” {16} Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. {17} And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ {18} 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. {19} And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ {20} 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?’ {21} So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

“... God said ... ‘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 toward God.”

A year ago at this time, I was preparing to head to Tanzania for a short-term mission trip. A few weeks before that I was back in Minnesota on a family vacation when my dad told me and my brother that he had prostate cancer, and was setting all of his affairs in order. He started giving away some of his possessions to his children and his grand children; and he explained to us the arrangements he had made for his burial and grave marker.

When I was half-way around the world in Tanzania, my dad was in the hospital undergoing treatment for his prostate cancer. My dad was surrounded by a whole lot of prayer, and now, a year later, it looks as though his treatment has been completely successful. I praise God, not only for the physical healing that my dad has experienced, but also for the renewed insight that he received, that absolutely nothing belongs to him, and that everything belongs to God.

My dad is an extremely hard worker, and takes great pride in what he does. However, nothing belongs to him. Everything belongs to God! Everything, including his very life, belongs to the one, to whom he will ultimately return.

Today, I want to ask you two questions. First, are you ready today for God to say to you, “This very night your life is being demanded of you.”? I’m really not all that worried about your house, or your furniture, or your pension plan - since none of that belongs to you anyway. What I am concerned about is your personal relationship with God in and through Jesus Christ.

I’m not asking you if you know about Jesus. Most of you have been coming here for years and have heard lots about Jesus. You can probably recite to me the Christmas story and the Easter story, and some of the miracle stories. But do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Can you tell me stories about how you have come to know and experience Jesus personally - in ways that are deeper than your relationship with your own mom or dad, your own husband or wife, your own children or grandchildren? I want to hear your stories about how your relationship with God in and through Jesus Christ, has become the richest treasure in your life.

You see, that’s what Jesus said really matters. Here at Elim, we can have the prettiest church in all of Ogden, with lots of dedicated people giving their blood, sweat and tears to maintain it; but if the actual people of this congregation - the children, the youth, the adults - if the actual people are not rich toward God, what difference does it make? “This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”

The first question is, are you ready to hear those words yourself? Are you ready to hear, “This very night your life is being demanded of you.”?

The second question is, what about those who live right around us in this neighborhood? Does God love those who actually live here as much as He loves you who drive here? Absolutely! Does God want the people who live here to know him personally, in the same way and the same amount as He wants you to know Him personally? Absolutely! Will the people of this neighborhood come to Elim to grow in their relationship with God because we have a beautiful building on the corner of 23rd and Jefferson? Absolutely Not!

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