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All we have comes from God

September 28, 2014

15th Sunday after Holy Trinity bienes terrenales

“This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,  but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.  Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.  The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.  (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)  The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”.

Genesis 2:4-15

Psalm 127:1-2

1 Pe 5:5-11

Mt 6:25-34

1) God is the creator of the earth.
2) God created human beings.
3) God created everything that grows and is produced on earth.
4) God put us as beneficiaries of creation and also as faithful stewards of all the materials he gives us.

Again, for us Christians who want to believe in the authority of the Bible, we receive proof that God is the creator of the earth where we live. We believe that God has a creative power that is still in effect today and that this creative power rules the universe. That’s basically what we can understand from this section of the creation story.

God also created people. He created a material being, what we today call the body. But He also tells us that every one of us has a spirit that comes from the breath of life, from God. We are created in the image and likeness of God, especially in the spiritual aspect. This is one of the confirmations given in the Bible that says we are not a mere animal evolution. No offense to any animal, but we are aware of God’s creation and we have a human spirit. From the spirit given by God we become created beings.

The part that we want to highlight from this creation story on this Sunday, according to the traditional topic, is God’s creation in nature and therefore all material things. God created the earth in all its beauty and splendor in all its fertility and abundance. Everything is ready for everyone; all of the earth’s resources are ready to be made use of. So we can be fed from what we sow and reap and, thereby, we can take advantage of the inexhaustible resource that God gave us as long as we take care of it and share it.

From the beginning, God wanted us to have all the material we needed for the material part of us, that is, our body, to survive. God wanted from the beginning of creation that man and woman could have all the goods necessary for subsistence and that life is comfortable. He devised a perfect place for a creation that he considers perfect.
And one of the most important slogans that we remember today is that God put us as beneficiaries of His creation and also as faithful stewards of what He has entrusted to us.

Today we want to emphasize that everything material that exists on our earth, including nature itself, is God’s creation and therefore belongs to God. God grants us all His creation for us to live on it. During the times of man and woman in the Garden of Eden, that creation was planned for all eternity; since the sin of man and woman, that creation will only be with us for our years on the earth.
Anyway, all we have is from God. Although we believe that we have worked hard for it, everything is borrowed, everything is temporary and fleeting and we can’t take anything with us beyond this life on earth. There is a not too happy saying in Spanish that states: “Burial shrouds don’t have pockets” (or you can’t take it with you) It means the clothes made for the deceased in earlier times were not sewn with pockets, because there would be no use. It tells us that nothing material can be taken with us beyond this life, and, especially as Christians, we must give material goods their precise place.

What is the right place to have for material goods? I happen to think that a good explanation can be found from the first commandment of the Decalogue that tells us: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Today, one of the gods of non believers is material possessions. They come to deify everything material – money, possessions, business, revenue, usufruct, profits, prosperity, incomes, etc. We have developed a very large and prolific vocabulary to speak of different aspects of the same thing: material goods.

For some people, namely nonbelievers, their very first priority is the material. There is no time in life for spiritual things. They don’t understand that we are also spirit. Instead, as Christians, we are called to realize that all the material we have comes from God and He is the only one who gives and who takes away.

There are people who work and perhaps more than work, who are still slaving with just one material goal, who neglect the spiritual part of their lives. They reach the end of their lives and realize that their life was a waste and a failure; they couldn’t enjoy the most important things from a Christian point of view.
People that hold material things this highly haven’t yet realized that God wants them to change their lifestyle. People who don’t have time for the things of God are not walking on God’s path.
For example, those who don’t have time once a week, for a couple of hours, to be in the presence of God in a church of their choice, are showing that, in principle, other things are more important to them. God calls upon us to make a radical change in our lives if this is the case.

Some live their life worrying so much about material goods that they live a life full of fear and anxiety dwelling on the thought of having less or running out of money. They believe it all depends on their work and physical effort to get things right. And we know that God’s logic is not so; it’s the other way around. We read in the Gospel for today: “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”(Mt 6: 32.33)

God assures us that as a part of the promise of his Garden of Eden, He will provide everything material. But we have to put God first. If we are not putting the things of God first, we are showing two things:
1) Wether we are not believers,
2) or, that we do not trust in God.

The worst thing is to believe that there are things that are more important than God. It results in a lower quality of life that over the years gets worse, and we increasingly lose, little by little, God’s blessing for our bodies, our minds and our spirits in our overall health and our prosperity; we lose God’s protection and favor, which we could fully enjoy in God.
And the worst thing about pursuing this kind of life is that by not putting the things of God first, we go astray from God so that, as the Bible warns us, we do not know for sure if we will indeed inherit eternal life. And that’s the worst thing that can happen to a human being.

But we don’t want that. Today and on a regular basis, we come to church because we believe in God and want to worship God alone. We put God first and we want to show it with something very simple, that is, having the time to worship in a church every week. We want to recognize that all we have comes from God. God wants to feed, nurture, take care of, protect, and give us jobs, money and all the material we need to sustain the lifestyle we have chosen. God likes for us to work, to be successful, to set goals and for us to do well in every aspect of life. But we must never forget that he places us as stewards of the things he created. We are not masters of our material life. We have one Lord who we want to obey and who is a loving God that wants to bless us.

But we have to put God first in our lives and that includes the material things, our time, our money and our hard work. And it not only involves simply coming to church, but this acknowledgement is seen in our actions and in particular that this recognition arises from a heart that wants to believe in God, accept that God is the creator of all that exists and that all we have, no matter how hard we work, comes from God and that If God wants, He can give us even more or He can take it all away according to our faithfulness to Him. Remember that God wants to bless us. But let’s not forget that for this to happen, we have to put God’s things in the right place in our lives.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Amen.

Rev. Enzo Pellini

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