First Doesn’t Last
Scripture Reading — Luke 16:19-31
“Remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” — Luke 16:25
People have complained that in sermons about this parable, it seems their pastor wants to make them feel guilty. After all, they have worked hard for the possessions they have. Their perseverance, not privilege, has earned them an expensive house and an extensive travel budget. They figure they are entitled to enjoy it all.
Some people have wrongly assumed that Jesus sees wealth as a barrier to eternal reward. But the point is not about money or the lack of it. What matters is the attitude of the heart and the pattern of behavior. Jesus said it is easier “for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God (Luke 18:25).
Jesus came not to teach a money management course but to model true humility and extravagant generosity (grace) in all aspects of life. He taught that “anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Sadly, the goal of building a big bank account can distract us from the dire needs of people who are financially challenged.
As Christ-followers, regardless of our income level, we can share with others. Rather than rushing past a homeless neighbor or an unemployed friend, we can open our wallets and bless them. We can see them not as lesser than we are, but as equals.
Humble my heart, Lord, when I think I am better than others. I know that all I have is a gift from you. Help me to share freely. Amen. (BMB)