September 25

Luke 16:26-31

“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

There were plenty of warnings about the danger of riches in the laws of Israel, and especially in the writings of the prophets. But there was little inclination among the rich to take any of that seriously. They likely considered the different strata in society to be God’s intention. Of course there were rich and poor–that’s just the way life is, and they felt blessed to be included among the elite. They would give alms–it would be part of their responsibility, but the idea of giving away their wealth was incomprehensible. Jesus says that they wouldn’t even listen if someone brought a warning from the land of the dead. But what’s really interesting is that after the resurrection many followers of Jesus seem to have taken his word to heart. Those who were baptized actually pooled their resources and had all things in common–it was an amazing experiment, but it didn’t last. Humans seem to be hard-wired to live within caste systems and wealth continues to be a primary way to track where we belong. Those class distinctions can even be seen among followers of Jesus and many believe that economic differences, rather than skin color, have become the greatest barrier to true unity in our congregations. 

Thought for the Day: Why can wealth be a barrier to unity in churches?

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