The Christian Always Keeps More Than He Loses

Pentecost 19 Sunday

Luke 16:19-20

“There was a rich man who clothed himself in purple and fine linen and lived every day gloriously and in joy. But a poor man named Lazarus laid at his door covered with sores.”

A Christian should not only not be offended by his misery, but take comfort that God loves him and is mindful of him and seeks what is best for him. As the wise man says as well in Proverbs 13:24: “If the father truly loves his child, he disciplines him.” This is why it is a great error if you want to calculate God’s goodness and grace only based on how you do here on earth. To be sure, money and possessions, a healthy body, and the like are God’s gifts and blessing–but they are the kind of blessing that does not remain forever. For you have to leave money and possession and everything else behind. Additionally, this misfortune is connected to these gifts that, unless you carefully keep yourself in the fear of God and pay close attention to his Word, such blessing gives rise to much sinning because of our sinful nature. This is why we see that God places on rich people many a cross and affliction, disease and other misfortune. They not only have earned this because of past sins; God also wants to fend off future sin and keep them in his fear in this way. Otherwise, if they had no afflictions, their prayers, faith and diligence regarding the Word would daily decrease and eventually cease altogether. However, the true, highest and best blessing, from which you can and should properly and truly experience God’s goodness is not temporal possessions, but the eternal blessing that God has called us to his holy gospel where we
hear and learn that God, for the sake of his Son, wants to be gracious to us, forgive our sin, and save us forever; he also wants to protect us here against the devil’s and the world’s tyranny. If you consider this blessing well, it will not matter to you if you are poor, sick, despised, lack success, and are burdened by all kinds of adversity. For you will see that you always keep more than you lose. If money and possessions are lacking, you still know that you have a gracious God; if your body is weak and sick, you know that you have been called to eternal life–as God has promised to you in Word and baptism…No matter how the dear God wants your life to be, your heart always has this comfort: It’s easy for God to
make things better here–but it is better yet that no one shall take my joy from me. For through Christ, I have a gracious God who is my Father and who wants me to have the eternal inheritance through Christ. This is how this poor Lazarus also comforted himself.

St. Louis ed., 13.1:698-700.

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