Luke 6:17-26 (NRSV)
Verse 17He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. Verse 18They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. Verse 19And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
Verse 20Then he looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Verse 21"Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Verse 22"Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Verse 23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. Verse 24"But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Verse 25"Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. "Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. Verse 26"Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
When I was young, I loved collecting baseball cards. Besides the mystery of opening a new pack, I enjoyed the thrill of trading cards with my friends. In hindsight, we never cared much about the monetary value of the cards. When we traded, we cared more about collecting our favorite players and teams. Value was determined by the collector of the cards, not by what the price guide declared.
Jesus declares all God's children valuable. People who earn little money, people who are food insecure, people who mourn, people who are persecuted for standing up for their faith—all are valuable beyond words in God's kingdom. While culture and society may look down on people in these situations, Jesus turns our world's value systems upside down. The value of human life is determined by the Savior, not by what our bank accounts or life circumstances declare.
Gracious God, inspire us with eyes of faith to see for this world a future without poverty or hunger. Use our lives and work to help make this world possible. Amen.