Someone in the crowd said to Him (Jesus), "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." But He said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?" And He said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:13-15
In 1999, Time Magazine declared Albert Einstein to be the "Person of the Century."
Passing over you and me, Einstein received this prestigious award because, as Time said it, he was "the pre-eminent scientist in a century dominated by science."
When Einstein died in 1955, he donated the literary rights to his 75,000 papers, along with other estate items, to the Hebrew-University of Jerusalem. Apparently, the rights to Einstein's image are also owned by the Israeli university.
That means whenever you see Einstein's face on a T-shirt, or a mug, or a poster, or in a movie, or on puzzles, or coins or ... (well, you get the idea) ... every time Einstein's likeness pops up the university makes some cash ... and Evelyn Einstein makes none.
Einstein's granddaughter, Evelyn, thinks that's unfair. As a 69-year-old cancer survivor, she says the university should share the estate with her since she could use help with her medical bills. The university says, "Einstein left all of his intellectual property, encompassing his literary estate and personal papers, to the Hebrew University, including the rights to the use of his image ... the income of the university from the use of his image is dedicated to scientific research."
So, who is right? I think the best answer is Jesus' answer: "Man, who made me judge or arbitrator over you? Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
Sometimes the last part of Jesus' wisdom gets forgotten and we end up with our lives dedicated to the accumulation of stuff. For example, ask a businessman what is more important, "family or work," and he will always reply, "family." Ask the same man where he invests the vast majority of his time and energy and you may get a different answer.
The same can be said for many of us.
This is why we need to keep our priorities straight. Worship of the Savior ought not to fall somewhere between raking the leaves and having our teeth cleaned. Support of His work ought not to be at the bottom of our bill paying.
Life is more than stuff ... and the Savior, who gave His life to save our eternal lives, deserves the best from His grateful children.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have done so much for me; may I always be grateful to You. This new heart I ask for in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries