Reflection for 7/31/2022 — 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 25, 2022 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“The things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

What are these “possessions” that Jesus is really speaking about in the Gospel parable of the rich man? It is our material, or worldly possessions! The question becomes: “Do we own our possessions; or do our possessions own us?” And, we all have “possessions” to some degree. God gave man dominion over the earth, to use His “possessions” found here on earth. It is God who provides the “possessions” found on earth, so that we can use it to take care of all the creatures and things of the earth.

Therein lies the key to Jesus’ parable. God tells us to care for the creatures and things of the earth. He does not tell us that the creatures and things of the earth are “our” “possessions!” We are stewards of God’s creation, not owners of it.

When we take what God has given us as our “own possessions,” to do with as we please, and do not use them to care for those in need, then we fall into idolatry. When this happens, we have elevated our “possessions” to that of a “false god.” No longer is our one, true God the primary focus of our lives, since our “possessions” have taken His place. “Our possessions oftentimes have more of an effect on us than we have on them.

When our possessions become the most important things in our lives, when our possessions come before our relationship with God and each other, we have been deceived by the devil! Because “the material things we accumulate throughout our lives, our material ‘possessions,’ will mean nothing at the gates of heaven,” unless they were used to for the glory of God and to help others.

In order to grow rich in the sight of God, we must always put God first and our neighbors ahead of ourselves. Then we will have the “right possessions,” that is, the “right stuff,” to carry us through our lives and into eternal joy with God.

– Bishop Roy Campbell

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