(Kersten, The Heidelberg Catechism in 52 Sermons, Vol.2, Part 16)

Of Property

Lord's Day 42

Psalter No. 400: 4, 5, 6
I Kings 21
Psalter No. 105: 4, 5, 6
Psalter No. 305: 4, 5
Psalter No. 136: 3, 4


    What an awful history is recorded in I Kings 21, regarding Jezebel
and Ahab in their dealings with Naboth the Jezreelite. Here we read of
what happens when a man forsakes and despises God's ordinances.
    Naboth had a vineyard in Jezzreel which bordered on the palace of
Ahab, the king of Samaria. Evidently Ahab had built a palace in Jezreel
also, though Samaria was the official residence of the kings of Israel.
    Ahab proposed to Naboth that he give his vineyard to him, because
Ahab deemed this vineyard very suitable for a garden of herbs, or as we
would call it, a vegetable garden for his palace. In exchange for it,
Ahab would give Naboth a better vineyard or, if it seemed good to him,
give him the value of it in money. Naboth, however, refused. This
vineyard was an inheritance of his fathers and had become his lawful
    Now you know how closely God watched over the possessions of the
people of Israel. A piece of land was not transferable among the
Israelites in the sense that the possession of it could be transferred
for a certain time, but the title remained with the original owner. If
selling a piece of property became necessary because of poverty or the
death of a whole family, and consequently the possession of it had to
be transferred, this transfer could not last for more than fifty years.
Every fiftieth year was Israel's Year of Jubilee in which all the
inhabitants of Canaan could receive their freedom, and return to their
father's possession. The Israelite who had sold his land because of
poverty, or any other reason, received everything back.
    Also Naboth was attached to his paternal inheritance, and refused
to part with his vineyard. That was his proper right. In no sense did
King Ahab have any claim on the property, which the Lord Himself had
allotted to Naboth as He had done to every tribe, every relation and
every family by establishing the boundaries.
    Ahab was very irritated and angry because of this refusal. He lay
down on his bed, turned away his face and would eat no bread. But the
wicked Jezebel knew a way to solve this problem. She hired false
witnesses who accused Naboth of having blasphemed God and the king.
They carried him out and stoned him until he died, and then seized all
his goods.
    Now this case was closed and Ahab had his way.
    But God had seen it! He sent Elijah, the prophet, to Ahab, who was
enjoying a walk in Naboth's vineyard, with the divine message that the
dogs would lick his blood and eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
Notice how closely the Lord watches over His own institutions,
including that of private property, which He allots to each person as
the Sovereign Owner of heaven and earth. For this reason He commanded
in His holy law: Thou shalt not steal.
    We shall now consider this eighth commandment, according to the
explanation given us in Lord's Day forty-two of the Heidelberg
    Lord's Day 42
Q. 110. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?

A. God forbids not only those thefts, and robberies, which are
    punishable by the magistrate; but he comprehends under the name of
    theft all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we design to
    appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbor;
    whether it be by force, or under the appearance of right, as by
    unjust weights, ells, measures, fraudulent merchandise, false
    coins, usury, or by any other way forbidden by God; as also all
    covetousness, all abuse and waste of his gifts.

Q. 111. But what does God require in this commandment?

A. That I promote the advantage of my neighbor in every instance I can
    or may; and deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others;
    further also that I faithfully labor, so that I may be able to
    relieve the needy.
    This commandment has to do with property, and we see how this
      I. belongs to God alone as the Sovereign Owner,
     II. is obtained from God's hand, and
    III. must be used in a manner well-pleasing to God.
    This Lord's Day speaks of stealing, which is appropriating someone
else's property. It is evident from God's Word that stealing is
forbidden because it teaches us that God has given man a right to own
property. By this, Holy Scripture does not say that we are sovereign
owners, who can do with our property as we please. God only is the
Sovereign Owner of all, and he demands that we acknowledge Him as such.
God alone is the sovereign Possessor of heaven and earth, of all
creatures living on the earth and dwelling in heaven. He does with the
armies of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth according to His good
pleasure. His is the silver and gold and the cattle on a thousand
hills. The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof. All that exists
is the Lord's, and according to His pleasure He allots to everyone a
certain portion in this world.
    How often we err in all our labor, plans and calculations. Permit
me to illustrate this with a practical example which speaks volumes.
You know that the island of Walcheren (in the province of Zealand) was
flooded with sea water during the war. The government ordered the
farmers not to sow during the first year after the war because the soil
was not suitable, and therefore incapable of yielding crops. The
farmers in this area, including those in Tholen, paid no attention to
that restriction, but raised a very rich crop on that soil despite all
human calculations. It was the Lord Who opened His hand and gave a rich
    But what happened the following year? Hardly any wheat had been
harvested and there was no bread to eat, but the people lived on beans.
Is this not an example of the way in which the Lord teaches us to live
in dependence on Him? When we make plans without God, our calculations
fail. When we think we have obtained our purpose and all will go well,
then everything goes wrong. Apply this to your own life, and let all
these experiences be a reminder in the first place of our deep
dependence upon the Lord. Our nature is opposed to a dependent life.
    As children of Adam we want to be like God; that is, free and
independent of God. Bowing before God and acknowledging Him is strange
to us by nature. We want to live our own life and rule it apart from
God. We desire to boast in our own strength, in which we put our
confidence. Wherein do we put our trust? In man and in the means. When
our fields produce good crops, when our trade brings us great profit or
when our name is mentioned among the educated, how we swell with pride.
It is the fertilizer, our zeal and skill, and our wisdom to which we
ascribe the blessing. Yet, what do we have that we have not received?
All blessings are from above, from the Father of Lights, from whom
comes every good gift and every perfect gift. When He withholds His
hand, our prosperity is gone; when he takes away our breath, we are no
more. Everyone who has learned to know something of God as the
Sovereign Owner acknowledges: "Except the Lord build the house, they
labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the
watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to
sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows, for so He giveth His beloved
    In true acknowledgment of that dependence, God receives the honour
from His people. They live a life of prayer, in order that their needs
may always be supplied.
    It was not without reason that Moses warned the children of Israel
not to say in their hearts, "My power and the might of mine hand has
gotten me this wealth." Moses said, "Thou shalt remember the Lord thy
God, for it is He that giveth thee power to obtain wealth." It is the
Lord Who, as the sovereign owner of all that exists, distributes to
everyone according to his sovereign pleasure.
    The second lesson which we are taught about God as the sovereign
owner is, that we shall be held responsible for the use of the property
which God has entrusted to us. Some day each person will have to give
an account before God's judgment seat, of the use he has made of the
goods which God has given him. We should fear covetousness, abuse and
wasting of God's gifts, as the instructor says. Scripture says, "They
that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare."
    There is no poorer man than a miser. He denies himself and others
the necessities of life. For the poor he has only a harsh word. To the
church and school he gives not a penny.
    I have known people of wealth who were shivering at their own
hearths during severely cold weather, because their thriftiness
prevented them from using the necessary fuel. I have seen some brooding
day after day for fear of having to lead a pauper's life until the
heirs divided the thousands after their death. Truly, we should sing
with David: "Incline my heart to thy testimonies, and not to
    On the other hand there are people who are guilty of wastefulness.
They live extravagantly. They spend all they earn even when their
income is ample. Their money is squandered or spent on things of no
    The Lord Jesus left us a different kind of example when He fed the
five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fishes. He commanded
that the fragments be gathered up. God will also require an accounting
of the food fragments we throw away.
    We are not to follow Rome in its doctrine of voluntary renunciation
of property - the so-called voluntary poverty; neither are we to allow
waste which is also a despising of Him before whose judgment seat all
men must once appear to give an account of their stewardship.
    From the acknowledgment that God is a sovereign owner follows in
the third place, a quiet submission to what God grants us; for we
receive it out of His hand. It is God Who makes rich or poor, and gives
much or little. It is He Who makes us live in wealth or poverty all of
our lives. Was not Asaph offended because the eyes of the wicked stood
out with fatness while everything was against him? There was no
contentment in his heart. However, when he understood the end of the
wicked he had to cry out, "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as
are of a clean heart." Let it be the confession of our hearts that we
receive everything - be it much or little - out of God's hand, in order
that we may not covet the world and its lusts, but be content with what
the Lord gives us. It was Agur's prayer: "Lord, give me neither poverty
nor riches." If this principle were acknowledged in the consciences of
all of us, neither socialism nor communism would influence us, but we
would live calmer lives. Then we would say - even in adversity - "It is
God's hand that gives me everything I have, because God is the
sovereign owner who gives to everyone his portion."
    Our second point is: Property is obtained from God's hand.
    In His providence God upholds the whole universe, heaven and earth,
and being good to all, He gives seed to the sower and bread to the
eater. He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends
rain on the just and on the unjust. There is no one on earth who can
say that God rewards him according to his sins. If the Lord would deal
with us according to our just deserts, we would be in that place where
there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    The Lord's tender mercies are bestowed upon us day by day, but
there is a great difference how He does so. God upholds the world in
His long suffering. The world does not continue to exist by virtue of
Christ's mediatorial blood. The Mediator, however, became poor; He
hungered and thirsted, and thereby obtained a holy right to the goods
of this life for His people.
    The world has no part in that right, but the church of God receives
its temporal blessings in God's favour. Therefore the church may
rightly sing:
    Make known His doings far and near
    That peoples all His Name may fear.
                        Psalter 425:1
    God distributes to His people the benefits of this life in His
favour and by His right hand. If God's children may observe this and
taste a little of God's mercy, they are rich, even though they are poor
in the world. They are blessed even though they are trampled under foot
by the world. "O, satisfy us early with thy mercy," sings the Psalmist.
If His people may taste this mercy of God, all that the world has to
offer vanishes into insignificance, because then they enjoy sweet
communion with God in Christ.
    Herein lies the difference between God's distribution of benefits
to the wicked and that to the pious. We certainly have reason to be
jealous of the people of God, and say that they are a happy people
already in this life. Soon they will be so eternally.
    In the state of innocence, God gave man a right to all the riches
of the Garden of Eden, but the fall deprived us of all those rights.
Nevertheless, in His covenant with Noah, the Lord decreed that the
whole world should be inhabited. He gave the earth as a possession to
the whole human race. Did not the Lord Himself confound the language of
the people who were building the Tower of Babel so that they should
disperse? Later when the children of Israel were brought by the Lord
into the land of Canaan, each tribe was allotted a definite portion.
The border lines were drawn and every family received the plot of
ground given them by God.
    Consider the daughters of Zelophehad. They had no brother and no
heir. Their father's inheritance was awarded to them under the
condition that they should never marry a man of another tribe, lest
their tribe's possession be lost to another tribe. By this we can see
how closely the Lord watched over the inheritance allotted to every
tribe, and how tenderly He cared for His Israel and for the possessions
which He had given them in Canaan.
    God gives to everyone his portion. One is blessed in his labor, and
God causes him to prosper in the world. He causes another to be
forgotten and fade away. Some are enriched by an inheritance, while
others lose it. Therefore, there is such a thing as private property.
We are allowed to say, this is my property, which I have received out
of God's hand.
    Sometimes His ways are very remarkable, and understood by His
people in their hearts' reflections. God has reserved to himself the
distribution of the blessing. Therefore we observe day by day that one
person receives an insight in his work which the other lacks. One
housewife with a large family can do more with a certain sum of money
than another who has no children. The blessing, wisdom, and all we
possess or obtain is from God, whether we admit it or not.
    He distributes to everyone according to His good pleasure, giving
one ten talents, another five and a third one talent. Man must respect
that distribution. God gives to each his own. Therefore let no one take
his neighbor's goods.
    The Socialists and Communists do not allow private property. Herein
lies the root of the battle which is being fought, and which will
become more severe as time goes on. You see whole nations moving toward
communism. The struggle between capitalism and communism is becoming
more intense. You can see this also among our own people, especially
among the members of government, who are determined that the working
man must be given a voice in the running of a business and its
ownership. Does not the Lord of the vineyard say in Matthew 20, "Is it
not lawful for me to do what I will with my own?"
    God gives possessions to everyone, and those possessions must be
acknowledged and protected.
    Stealing means not only that I take something belonging to another,
but also that I offend the right of ownership which God has given him.
The more that socialism and communism prevail, the more deeply will our
people plunge themselves into misery, because the ordinances of the
Lord of Hosts are trodden under foot.
    These things should fill our hearts with fear. God will not allow
His ordinances to be set at naught. He gives every man his portion, and
that which we receive out of His hand we must protect. Above all, we
are to make use of it in a way which is pleasing to God.
    Our third principal thought shows us how to make use of property in
a manner which is well-pleasing to God.
    Here we have occasion for a short discussion first of all of the
sins which are committed against this commandment, and secondly of our
calling, to keep this commandment.
    God not only forbids thefts which are punishable by the
magistrates, but through Israel's civil laws which were interwoven with
the ceremonial and pointed to Christ, a standard for this life appears
which is this: The government is called to protect both the national
property and the property of individuals. It is the duty of the
government to see to this. But if we read the daily papers we must say,
"Wretched land, what will become of it?" The government is guilty of
violating this commandment and of misusing the property of our people,
who groan under heavy burdens. The Lord expresses His displeasure with
it since theft is forbidden in this commandment.
    Our Catechism speaks further about robberies or taking away goods
by force. Think of the late wars in which small countries were trampled
under foot and suppressed. Robberies in private life are also forbidden
by the Lord. Think of King David, who pronounced his own death sentence
when the prophet Nathan came to him. David himself was the man who had
robbed the ewe lamb under the pretense of right. Also Jezebel, wanting
to please Ahab, caused Naboth to be killed under the pretense of
justice. It was a satanic action, and God took revenge on the house of
Ahab and on Jezebel.
    Such things still happen today. Think only of recent times when two
false witnesses were sufficient to imprison a man. The Lord sees all
this injustice, even when it has the appearance of right, and will show
His wrath.
    Notice also how the other examples cited by the Catechism, are
taken from daily life: unjust weights, ells, measures, fraudulent
merchandise, false coins, usury, or any other such means forbidden by
God. Beware of the business world! It requires constant vigilance; and
for those who desire to live according to God's Word, it is difficult
to be honest in business. Sometimes improper weight is given. Sometimes
ells and measures are lessened. In still other instances fraudulent
merchandise is delivered. "A false balance is an abomination to the
Lord, but a just weight is His delight."
    Think also of usury. Usurers make use of an emergency situation to
extort great sums of money from someone who is in financial straits. I
want to emphasize very strongly: Avoid usurers, even though you may be
in the greatest financial need, for you w111 perish in their hands.
    Consider the black market trade. Never expect a blessing upon such
trade. Examine the conduct of the black market traders and see how they
carry the clear evidences of God's displeasure.
    When the instructor says: "Or by any other way forbidden by God,"
should we not think of the fact that we live above our means by
insisting upon certain standards of dress and household furnishings
just to be conspicuous in the world? Do you not know that by this
behavior you go from one evil into another? Let our boys and girls
ponder these things. Do you spend all your earnings on yourselves and
forget your parents? Do you forget the love your parents have shown
you, and as you grow older do you not esteem them worthy of any
    How abominable, furthermore, is gambling. "The lot is cast into the
lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." His holy
providence controls the lot. Gambling, however, tries to make God's
providence turn to our advantage instead of committing our life's
destiny into the hand of God. Gambling makes a mockery of God's
providence. Moreover, it is contrary to the command of the Lord: "In
the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." By gambling an attempt is
made to obtain money the easy way. "But they that will be rich fall
into temptation, and a snare," is an appropriate warning. We should
hate such things. When the Lord called Zaccheus effectually, the first
fruit of his conversion was manifested in charity: "Behold, Lord, the
half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken anything from
any man by false accusation, I restore him four-fold."
    Lastly, the Catechism concludes this question by condemning all
abuse and waste of God's gifts. You realize that our entire life is
referred to in this commandment. The instructor seeks to impress upon
our hearts that we must walk in humility and meekness in the sight of
God, and that "I behave myself towards my neighbor in such a way, that
I promote his advantage in every instance I can or may," as the Word of
God teaches us.
    Notice the Catechism says, "Where I can or may." I may not promote
my neighbors advantage in an unlawful manner. It must be lawfully
possible. I may not neglect my own affairs to help my neighbor.
    This Lord's Day also alludes to liberality in the distribution of
goods which the Lord has given us. "He that has two coats, let him
impart to him that has none." The rich young man lacked this charity.
    How much do we exercise charity? The materialism of our times has
left such scars upon us that we often make Cain's words ours - whether
consciously or unconsciously - "Am I my brother's keeper?"
    In what respects do we seek our neighbor's advantage? Nevertheless,
God demands that we do. The more selfish a person is, the more God
demands of him. The self-seeker, to be sure, insists on the best
treatment for himself. God, however, requires of him what he demands of
others. Only heart-renewing grace can cause us to possess and exercise
true charity, and when it is in exercise, it will enable us to seek our
neighbor's welfare according to God's command. May this grace become
our portion so that we may become living witnesses more and more
against the spirit of our times.
    Let us always remember the poor. Their needs are great, especially
in these times of high cost. I know of a congregation which gives
almost one hundred twenty-five dollars weekly to the poor. One need not
ask how great the collections of that congregation must be. We must be
faithful in our work, eating our bread in the sweat of our brows; but
we should also have a little to spare to help the poor and needy.
    Strikes are also condemned for this same reason. What is a strike?
It is the breaking of a contract agreement to work for a given wage at
a time when that work is urgently needed. It is an abuse of power, and
it is clear as day that the strikes which occur throughout the world
bear God's displeasure. Let us not participate in strikes. Let us not
join unions whose constitutions favour striking. Let us be faithful in
our work so that friend and foe may say: That employee is a Christian.
May it be said of us what we now sing together from Psalter No. 305: 4,
         God's promise shall forever stand,
         He cares for those who trust His word;
         Upon His saints His mighty hand,
         The wealth of nations has conferred.
         His works are true and just indeed,
         His precepts are forever sure;
         In truth and righteousness decreed,
         They shall forevermore endure.
    Let us now apply this demand of God to ourselves. It is valid for
our whole life. It pertains to the rulers of empires and kingdoms as
well as to their subjects.
    Sometimes we should ask ourselves: What will become of the world?
What will become of our country? I see days of poverty approaching, and
will truthfully confess that times of great oppression are near. Let us
abstain from excessive luxury. A heavy burden is resting on us already,
and the cost of living is high.
    Many are asking, "What must I depend on for a livelihood soon? My
money is gone." I am afraid that this burden will become heavier. We
are oppressed under our tax system, and soon we will have to pay half
of our income for social taxes and compulsory insurance. What
enterprises will be able to meet those obligations? Ask the small
businessman how he obtains a working capital, and how much profit is
left after he pays his taxes. He will tell you he has come to the point
of no return.
    Our country is about to dig its own grave, and soon will be plunged
into great poverty. Wherein does the cause lie? In sin. Our sins are
the reason why the Lord's hand is against us. His hand is raised
against our whole country and against us as individuals. Nevertheless,
the Lord requires honesty from us, even towards our government, in
making out our tax reports. As you affix your signature to your tax
return, remember that you must do so honestly, for the Lord says, "Thou
shalt not steal." Let our lives and our conduct testify that we have a
conscience void of offense before God. It is a responsibility common to
all that we as individuals must act as stewards over that which God has
entrusted to us and we must do so agreeably to God's Word. Let us
refrain from taking even the least of what is not ours, even though it
be a postage stamp. Oftentimes temptation begins with the smallest
    Remember this, boys and girls, whenever you are employed in an
office or a business, if you take the first step in this direction, it
will be easier to take the second. You will go from one evil to
another. Remember that God sees you continually. Let it be a set
principle in your life to take nothing, not even a cent, that is not
yours. And you, businessmen, be honest in all your dealings. I know a
little of how difficult it is to do business. I understand what
problems you run into, and why you say, "I cannot afford any more
losses; my business must be kept in existence!" But there is One who
knows all things, and who has pronounced his judgment on the sin
against the eighth commandment. Is it not the Lord's blessing that
makes one truly rich? Then practice prudence in the sight of the Lord,
Who demands that we take no usury, and that we act justly in weights,
measures and sound merchandise.
    If now our conduct is according to these rules, and our actions and
walk in meekness and humility, the Lord will enrich us with temporary
blessings. Give graciously to the poor and needy however sparingly you
have to go through life. Make it a matter of routine to set aside a
little for the poor. The Lord Jesus saw the widow's mite. Do not be
offended, girls and boys, when I say, "If you have not the money to buy
new clothing or a new hat, make your present clothing do for another
year." Let us rather live in humility and meekness than become vain and
waste that which God has given us.
    There is another matter which I wish to mention. Although the Lord
bestows a temporal blessing upon the keeping of his commandments, there
is a great difference in the manner of distribution which the Lord
makes in the world. One receives God's blessings out of His left hand,
whereas another receives them out of His right hand. What does that
mean? It means that the wicked may become great and attain power in the
world. One is tempted to say that everything they undertake succeeds,
and their fortunes accumulate. Another finds it impossible to save a
cent. Lines of care and sorrow are grooved deeply into his face. What
does it mean to receive blessings out of God's left hand? It means to
receive them without grace and to an eternal condemnation. Think of the
following illustration as an example: You know how an ox is fattened
for the day of slaughter. Such an animal receives the best in food. Ask
a farmer to tell you about the pains he takes to find the best feed to
fatten his ox to bring it to slaughter.
    At times this seems to be true of the wicked. It is as though God
is fattening them for eternal judgment which, in spite of all their
wealth, they will not be able to escape. What a terrible thing it is to
have obtained rich blessings out of God's left hand and soon to be
summoned before His tribunal in order to be cast away eternally. Be not
envious of the rich, but let us come to ourselves and ask ourselves who
and what we are.
    What is your relationship toward God? Has it ever become a wonder
that God is long suffering toward you and that you are not yet cast
into eternal perdition? That is the place we have deserved. But the
Lord in His providence, forbearance and common grace, still allows His
sun to rise and set upon the wicked and the righteous. Do you never
stop and consider what blessings you still enjoy? Hitherto the Lord has
protected us and satisfied every need. When He brought adversity, God
still did not deal with us according to our sins. He healed our
sicknesses and delivered us from our distresses. To this moment we have
lacked nothing. Of all this we must give an account. When do we
acknowledge that what we still have comes from God? We have labored,
and God has given us His blessing.
    Now consider how blessed the people of God are who receive
everything with grace. Even though they are poor in earthly goods, yet
they are rich, since God's tender mercies are better than life itself.
    My unconverted friend, should you not covet the portion of God's
people? They are reconciled with God. My fellow traveler, you are truly
poor and soon you will come to the end of your life, when you will have
to leave this world. You must leave all your possessions behind and
appear before God with an unsaved soul. How terrible will that be! You
may have toiled, slaved, and wept concerning temporal things, but you
have never been concerned about the welfare of your immortal soul. Tell
me truthfully, what are your greatest interests in life? What are your
daily concerns? Do you think about your conversion on Sundays only, and
then live at ease the remainder of the week, feeding yourself with the
"husks which the swine did eat?"
    But you say, "I cannot convert myself." I reply by asking this
question: What will you do with the daily admonition of God's Word: "Be
ye reconciled to God?" If you do not answer that question now, you will
be compelled to answer it before the Lord some day soon.
    May the Lord enable you to make use of His Word by going to Him
continually with weeping and supplication, and asking: Lord make me as
blessed as thy people are. They are blessed indeed. Already in this
life they are declared to be blessed: "How blessed, Lord, are they that
know the joyful sound..." and the apostle says: "For by grace are ye
saved, through faith."
    There are many who say, "I believe that man will go to heaven some
day." This is surely true, if the smallest beginning of God's grace has
been glorified in his heart. God's children are truly blessed already
in this life by virtue of the manifestations of God's love and grace in
their hearts. They are also blessed in their earthly possessions when
they may have true enjoyment thereof with God's favour. Sometimes they
feel themselves very rich with the least benefit they have in the
world. Sometimes they are so richly satisfied with the manifestations
of God's love in their hearts, that they are able to sing when they
receive a morsel of dry bread and a drink of cold water. This the world
can never do. Even though God's people are and remain poor in this
world, Christ has carried the burden of their poverty in order to make
them rich for time and for eternity. May our eyes be fixed on Him. Did
He not say, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests;
but the Son of man has not where to lay His head?" Though you have only
a meager portion in this world, O people of God, it is for your
benefit, since the Lord wishes to wean you more and more from the
things of this world. He wishes to teach His people what Paul said,
namely, "As having nothing, and yet possessing all things." God Himself
will be their portion, and they must learn to be content with God. Let
not the world have such a large place in your hearts. You will be
unhappy if you do.
    May the Lord grant that with every gift which He bestows we may
experience His precious favour, that we may rejoice in Him whether we
possess much or little, and that we may not be earthly minded but seek
the things which are above. People of God, let your hope be fixed upon
the salvation which God has prepared for His elect in Christ, that you
may walk as strangers and pilgrims on the earth, declaring plainly that
you seek another country, in the hopeful expectation of that City which
has foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God. Amen.

Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism in 52 Sermons, Vol.2
(continued in part 17...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc2-16.txt