O Lord, grant us wisdom to recognize the treasures You have stored up for us in heaven, that we may never despair but always rejoice and be thankful for the riches of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
God has introduced me to many of His people over the years, some of them quite poor. I remember a fellow who often had profound things to say about himself and the world, who was homeless in Las Vegas when I served my vicarage there. I remember some retired folks who counted every penny and sometimes were eating pretty thin fare before the social security check arrived. I was always struck when I heard them speak of the goodness and blessings of God to them. Some of them expressed in theological terms like our prayer does. Others were more concrete in their terms. One woman I knew praised God for his care and love because her car’s tires seemed to last longer than advertised. She was sure that God was looking out for this poor woman.
I don’t want to take too romantic of a view of being poor. It was hard and frankly I don’t want to be poor. But I have also noticed that wealth often seems to stunt the joy and thanksgiving which people render unto God. That seems surprising to me on one hand. After all, God has given great blessings to us, one would think that this should be the occasion for more joy and thanksgiving to the One who gave the blessings to us. But on the other hand, it is not so shocking. I see in my own life that the self-worshiping old man quickly asserts himself in my life at every opportunity. Creature comforts seems to give him a little more room to operate with me.
This week the readings lead us to examine our relationship to our earthly possessions, particularly money. You might think about matters of gratefulness and joy when you do your banking or when take stock of your resources. We are all rich in Christ. Our thanksgiving and joy can overflow in any circumstance. Try telling yourself that all your have comes from God because he loves you. He has made you an heir of heaven itself. You may have to repeat it several times before it really sinks in. Then say thank you.