September 29

Luke 16:27-31

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” vs. 31

Luke’s gospel is full of warnings from Jesus about the dangers of riches. Again and again he tells the crowds and the disciples that those who desire to be wealthy are treading on dangerous ground. Some people took his words to heart–many actually took vows of poverty and lived together in community. But most people were resistant–they hadn’t paid any attention to the same message when it was delivered through the prophets–they certainly weren’t going to listen to Jesus, even if he were to rise from the dead. We see that same resistance in the contemporary church. Many people are drawn to the gospel and love its message of unconditional love and forgiveness. But Jesus’ words about wealth and possessions are a real stumbling block. Often those teachings are twisted and distorted to take away the bluntness of his warnings. People are told that there is no danger in accumulation and that in fact riches are a sign of God’s blessings in our lives. Some pastors have given up preaching on such topics–possibly because they’re so deeply conscious of their own personal wealth. But the question remains. Why would Jesus have spoken so forcefully on this issue if it wasn’t a problem? Could it be that our preoccupation with possessions is a threat to our souls and a not-so-subtle form of idolatry? How might our lives change if we took his words to heart?

Thought for the Day: What questions do I have about wealth?

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