Thursday, March 21, 2013

Woe unto whom?

Looking at his disciples, he said:
Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Luke 6:20-26

Jesus said it, not me! And you know what, this passage makes me feel worried - does it make you feel worried? Because here's the thing: while I don't consider myself rich in terms of American wealth, I do consider myself rich in terms of worldwide wealth. I realize full well that 99% of Americans are the 1%-ers of the world. So this passage worries me! Is there any comfort for me? Well, let's read further in the passage:
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Luke 6:38

This passage is SO important for American Christians today. I am afraid we have lost sight of this passage, and we are not living by faith that Jesus will keep this promise. And this isn't the only place Jesus addresses riches and poverty - remember the rich man who asked Jesus what he must do to be saved? I like the Mark version of this story (chapter 10) a lot because it says in verse 21: "Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him." But then what does Jesus say? He says the rich man must sell ALL his possessions and give the money to the poor and follow him! ALL?!! The man's face fell, as I'm sure yours or mine would. How can we even live if we sell everything and give the money to the poor? We'll be out on the streets, right? But what else did Jesus say? Follow him. Exactly what the 12 disciples were doing, and they were provided for, right? And in the Luke 6 passage Jesus tells us that if we give, the measure we use will be measured unto us! If the rich man had given everything he owned, he would have received so much more in return!

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