Sunday, August 01, 2004

Luke and Wealth

I just got done re-reading the Gospel of Luke, and I am struck once again by what a surprisingly radical document it is. Everyone should take a couple of hours to read Luke -- not for its birth narrative, not for its passion narrative -- but with a mind to discover just what Jesus' teachings on wealth were. When you read Luke with that mindset the results are amazing:

  • "[W]oe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry." Lk 6:24-25.
  • When you go out to do God's work, "[t]ake nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money -- not even an extra tunic." Lk 9:3.
  • "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one' life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." Lk 12:15
  • "Sell all your possessions, and give alms." Lk 12:33.
  • "[N]one of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions." Lk 14:33.
  • "You cannot serve God and wealth." Lk 16:13.
  • "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted suptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table.... The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side." Lk. 16:19-23.
  • "Sell all you own and distribute the money to the poor...." Lk. 18:22.
  • "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle...." Lk. 18:24-25.
  • Jesus "entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there...." Lk 19:45.

How can we read Luke and go on about our normal consumerist lives?


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