The Parable of the Rich Fool
God provides all that we need, so we should center our lives on his kingdom and give generously.
(Read Luke 12:1-13)
A long time ago, before there were Republicans and Democrats, a Constitution, a Bill of Rights, or a Declaration of Independence, there was Rome. Rome was originally a republic, but it eventually unraveled due to a long series of civil wars.
Near the end of the republic, a young man by the name of Octavian rose to prominence. The great Roman statesman and orator, Cicero, said, "Octavian is a talented young man who should be praised, honored, and eliminated." In the years after Cicero said that, Octavian destroyed his enemies (including Cicero), transformed Rome into an empire, and assumed the title of Caesar Augustus.
The empire Augustus ruled was huge, spanning from Scotland in the north to Egypt in the south and from Spain in the west to Persia in the east. Augustus had a standing army of half a million men and millions of citizens who required government assistance, so in the twenty-fifth year of his reign, he decided to raise taxes which required a census of the empire. When Augustus issued his decree for the census, a Jewish couple had to migrate south from their home in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea where the wife, Mary, gave birth to their infant son, Jesus. When that decree was issued, everyone knew who Caesar was and no one knew who Jesus was.
Now, 2000 years later, few outside of history departments in colleges and universities know who Augustus was although Jesus is worshipped by millions of people around the world. One of the main reasons that happened was because the early church eventually infiltrated and then over time displaced the empire. It did so because those first Christians had the Holy Spirit living in them, and they had his example to guide them. They lived out the truth ...
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Scott Wenig is associate professor of applied theology at Denver Seminary in Denver, Colorado, and author of Straightening the Altars.