WHAT IS THE HOPE…WHAT IS THE RICHNESS
with Rev. Rachel
18 WHAT IS THE HOPE…WHAT IS THE RICHNESS Ephesians 1
Inheritance is a tricky word. 19th century industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie proclaimed the underbelly. America was better than aristocratic chains of wealth. Or he wanted it to be; which is why he pleaded with his compatriots to take their surplus and do something, anything, for not-their-heirs.
56% of current retirees in this country expect to give inheritances. About 10% of you are bristling because how dare I frown on you and yours! [More on that statistic another time.] Not frowning. I am already off to peer into the heart of the Paul.
When Paul speaks of inheritance, he points to that which we receive—that which is sheer gift. It has nothing to do with what any one person earns and everything to do with what not one of us deserves (but is opened to us anyhow).
The kind of thing that gets left to you, by nature of your identification with God and the people of God, well, it’s not treasure at all, I’ve heard ‘em say. We get things like the chance to encourage developing servant leaders. We gain the prayers of prior generations. We are made rich with the holy stuff that I cannot readily rattle off.
What are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints (v.18)? The moments our baptism saves us from operating some other kind of way in this word. The day a brother or sister sojourner does the thing that makes all the difference and with not a trace of ulterior motive.
Our inheritance can be characterized as both now and later, both personal and social, both a blessing and a longing to be a blessing. In other words: If it is a treasure chest, the lid is opened to us along the way of faith. The contents are valuable to those who come to value what Christ values.
Christ values those who say “let’s” to a lifetime of bodybuilding. Thus, Nick Deere in our midst. No, he is not committed to his personal musculature development. Yes, he intends to make a life of serving Christ’s Church. No, I’m not going to be away this Sunday. Yes, he is Jim Somerville’s intern.
I should tell you: He’s a Baptist. And you should tell me: From our treasure chest, stranger, more surprising things emerge—glory, hallelujah! All of us together, then: Tell us, Nick, of the hope to which you have been called. Preach, preacher. We need the good news.