One of the comic books I loved to read was Richie Rich; The Poor Little Rich Boy. I spent hours after spending my last quarter on the latest edition.
This wasn’t like Scrooge McDuck; no these were um… real people with absurd wealth!
Fine! it is a comic book I understand but oh, I could daydream endlessly about having a fortune like that!
Now by the world standards, I have managed to live a pretty good life, at least materially, but nothing compared to good ol’ Richie. But you know I am richer in many ways that he, for there was a reason he was called the “Poor Little Rich Boy.” While there was a huge cast of family, like Aunt Noovo Rich, Aunt Mintley, and his rich cousin Reggie VonDough Jr but very few friends. Oh, he had a girlfriend, Gloria Glad and a want to be girlfriend, Mayda Munny (love that name!) he had few other friends and Richie’s money more often caused him troubles rather than solving all his problems.
In fact, Richie often comes to the conclusion that we do when we read today’s Bible text. The rich man in Mark 10:17-31 wants to know how he can “inherit” eternal life. Now that is a bit of an odd question. But it seems from the context of his wealth and his question “what must I do” There must be something he can make happen, either through means or deeds, to ensure he gets what he seems to want dearly. Jesus looks at this man in love and says, go sell your stuff, give it to the poor then come follow me. The rich man goes away sad because he had a lot of stuff. So much that he couldn’t bear to part with it.
That the stuff money can often buy gets in the way of the things that are really valuable. The paragraph of the wilderness wanderings devotion put it so well I wish I had read it before writing my sermon, it might have made it a little shorter!
Today, Jesus reminds us that God’s richness is not counted in dollars and cents. Today, Jesus reminds us that God’s richest blessings are human, not monetary. Today, Jesus reminds us that everything necessary for salvation has been accomplished by God, who enables us to support and care for one another.
On this Valentines day when so much is spent on cards, flowers, chocolates and dinners out… fine things to do, but it is good to remember that the real riches of love come to us not with a price tag, but as a gift.