Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A Thought

“The Pharisees, who were lovers of money … ridiculed Jesus.  So Jesus said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts, for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:14-15).

Jesus had been teaching about dishonest gain and had pointed out to the crowd that if one “has not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?” (vs 12).  Most of us would not even think of taking something that clearly belongs to someone else, but Jesus’ lesson was not strictly about stealing.  The preceding parable goes much deeper and asks more difficult questions than to simply ask whether we would take something we know belongs to someone else.  Rather the lesson hinged on what lengths humans may go to in order to acquire wealth.  It is a question of honesty and moral integrity.  It is also a question of what we value.

Well meaning persons would convince themselves that if they had wealth, they would give honor to The Lord by first offering their tithe and then offering charity (maybe after all old debts are paid off).  As so many lottery winners have shown, however, and in keeping with what Jesus clearly points out, if we are not faithful with what little we have it is very unlikely we will be faithful with a lot. 

Jesus is very direct and offers no exceptions by which we can justify such choices of accumulation of wealth, “for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God”.  Even if we convince ourselves that The Lord intended for us to have good things only for ourselves and those we love, we cannot get around this passage.  We are compelled to evaluate everything in our lives honestly and faithfully, everything we would go to the ends of the earth to justify and defend, and determine for ourselves whether or not our choices bring honor to The Lord – or to ourselves.

Wealth in and of itself is not the curse.  It is the “love of” wealth that brings curses rather than blessings because we are pursuing the things which by their very nature cannot last.  Let us evaluate our priorities and remember what a true legacy really is.  Our children can make their own way.  The “name and monument” given for eternity (Isaiah 56:5) rests exclusively with The Lord.



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