Luke 12:32-34 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Sometimes there are parts of scripture that you would rather not hear. Most people like to hear the law that convicts other people of sins, and most sinners love to hear about Jesus suffering and death so that we might be forgiven and have peace with God. People facing death desire to hear about eternal life, with no sickness sorrow and pain, which is ours in Christ. And when it comes to our text today, we are glad to hear about the first part, where God is going to give us the kingdom. But the second part – that’s another story. Sell you possessions, and give the money away? That doesn’t sound right!
But this text doesn’t let anyone off the hook, for if we are not willing to sell everything, and give the money away – then God is telling us, that those things are our treasure, and those things are in the possession of our heart. Its very simple, if you heart is apart from God, then it is idolatry, we have another God, and if we do not repent, we will perish.
We all know the story of the Rich Young Ruler, it occurs later in Luke18:22
If something occurs once, you can say, maybe I misunderstood, but when you hear it the second time,… And what’s the obstacle? One word, Faith!
Abraham had faith, he trusted in God. I don’t know if we have many Abraham’s today, for if God promised that we would have descendants as numerous as the stars, and we were 90 years old, we might go looking for another God, who delivered more promptly on his promises. God had also promised Abraham land, and that hadn’t come either,… these days, wouldn’t most people go looking for another God? And that’s the point. Abraham had faith, not because God kept his promises in a timely manner, but Abraham remained loyal even when it seemed like God had forgotten him. That is what faith is about.
Its nothing special to trust in something when things are going well and times are good. That is not faith, for at such points we are walking by sight, and there is no challenge to believe in things which we cannot see. Think, Abraham was told by God, leave home, and I will give you the promised land, I will make you a father of nations – and Abraham believed, and he did not hold it against God that he had become old and was still childless, in the face of all the things that create doubt and fear, he continued to believe.
And it is this same faith that God calls us towards. But first, there is the obstacle that holds us back, our things, it keeps us from loving God will all our heart. The answer is to let go of them, but that is not always easy. But seeing what needs to be done, and seeing that we cannot do it by ourselves, we turn to God and ask him to increase our faith, and grant us such grace, that the good things we know we ought to do, that we might find the strength to do them. And the evil that we know we ought to avoid, we pray also that God would increase our faith and grant us such grace that we might overcome such temptations.
And day by day, as we turn to God for faith and grace, as we learn to turn to the Word, and to grow in this life he has given us in and through Baptism, Day by day and little by little, we will find the strength to resist temptation, to turn from sin, and to keep God at the center of our life. And we may not notice that day by day, and little by little we are being transformed into the image of the likeness of Christ. We may never have any big stories to tell, but we can tell, how day by day the grace of God has been sufficient, and how the Word of God has been our strength, and thus not only do we grow, but we encourage those around us to continue to faithfully follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.