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.
Compared with the rest of the world, I'm rich. Most days, I eat what I want and I eat my fill. My wife is hilarious, so we laugh a lot. After a few years in ministry, I think I have a good reputation in the area, whether I deserve it or not. Yikes—I find myself inhabiting all four categories Jesus warns about with words of woe! How do you score?
I'm thankful for these good things in my life. Yet, amid my thanksgiving, I hear Jesus' words as a warning about what my true treasure is. Wealth, a full stomach, laugher, and reputation are not to be the end-goal of those who possess them. Woe to us indeed if we hoard our wealth, food, and laugher. I wonder what new possibilities our wealth, our filled tables, and our shared laugher might bring, should they be dedicated to God's mission. How will we ever know if we keep them to ourselves?
Benevolent God, you so freely gave your own Son that we might be saved by your love. Help us see where we might be instruments in your mission for abundant life for all people. Amen.