Today’s reading is Luke 6:24-38
How do the woes in this section make you feel?
Woe to the rich, full, those who laugh and those who all people speak well of.
It may as well say “woe to you Australians”!
But let’s have a look at another character who was rich, full and laughed:
There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table.
The punch line comes in verse 25. The nameless rich man who could easily be an Aussie has died and gone to hell. Lazarus has gone to heaven and is standing with Abraham the man who was chosen to begin the nation of Israel. Abraham replies to the rich man’s cries for mercy:
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
Another well known parable really brings the point home. The parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-20. It concludes this way:
And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? ’
What is the common theme between these rich fools? Verse 21 lays it out for us:
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God
Are Jesus’ words a warning to Australians today? Certainly.
We should check our hearts and consider whether we are “rich towards God”.
Remember that you can’t take it with you, but you can send Godly riches ahead:
lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven
Jesus then moves us on to even more radical thinking. We know we don’t want to live like a rich fool but why would we live like this:
“But to you who are listening I say:Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Keep reading. It gets even more radical!
Why would anyone live like this? Bless those who curse you? Give without expecting anything back? We could really be left in the lurch. Perhaps hurt and likely financially worse off.
Here is the answer:
Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
We are children of the Great King. A king with vast resources at our disposal. He has treasures that truly make the rich men of the parables look foolish.
If we really believe in the greatness of our Lord and King, then let us live our lives in a way that shows where our true riches lie.