September 19

Amos 6:1a, 4-7

“Alas for those who are at ease in Zion, and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria…who lounge on their couches…who drink wine from bowls…but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!” vss  4a, 5a, 6a, 7b

Amos broadens his scathing critique of Israel to include the leaders of Judah, and sees nothing but disaster for their respective nations. The leading families are living in the lap of luxury and sparing no expense in the pursuit of pleasure. What he observed has been repeated again and again all over the world and can certainly be seen in our own time as well. There seems to be no upper limit to luxurious living and humans are marvelously inventive in thinking of new ways to pamper our flesh and indulge our material fantasies. Now finding pleasure in living is no sin, but as Amos saw, the pursuit of luxury almost always involves the abasement and the neglect of the poor. It’s not likely that any of us are going to be able to shift the momentum of history single-handedly, but we can, in our own lives, be aware of the not-so-subtle allure of luxury and what has been called “first-class living.” As followers of Jesus we are called to share resources and gladly do what we can to lift up the needy. Many are doing exactly that, and we’ve discovered that generous individuals, working together, can make a big dent in poverty, and even Amos might have been pleased!

Thought for the Day: What luxuries give me most pleasure?

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