Daily Archives: November 25, 2010

Woe to You Who are Rich

Luke 6:[24] “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

[25] “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

[26] “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

This from the Financial Post on Tuesday regarding the happiness of Canadians:

“New analysis from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards paints Canadians as a happy bunch. But the group found household income way down the list on variables that make us happy.”

Nice to see the rest of the world catching up with Jesus. Just as He pronounces blessings upon those who suffer and are persecuted because of their faith in Him, so He pronounces woes upon those who are comfortable and have chosen comfort over endurance for Jesus. Rich people have problems like everyone else, but none of them are due to lack of money. Money brings many comforts that others cannot have. It is hard to live without the necessary funds for living and it makes life very hard to be in a constant state of juggling books and wondering which bill to pay this month. The rich have the comfort of knowing that they never have to worry about paying for what they want and need. Their choices are never, “Can I buy this?” or “How do I get the creditors off my back?” “That” says Jesus, “is all the consolation you are going to get”. And that is not a blessing.

The same is true for the well fed and the happy and the popular. They have their reward. Their reward is getting the things that they wanted. They desired money, satisfaction, happiness and popularity – and they got those things. “Too bad for you” says Jesus. “Because that is all the reward you will ever get”.

The rich are not to be envied. They are to be pitied. They have traded eternal happiness for the temporary. They have chosen a fleeting moment over eternity. They have focussed on what can be seen and felt and tasted and weighed. And they are wrong. They will regret it for a very long time.

The lessons to us are several. 1)We should not envy those who look to their current comforts as the only ones they will ever receive. 2) Faith in Jesus means not depending on the things that the ungodly can get outside of Jesus Christ. This means that comfortable Christians should hold on to their possessions very loosely. The test of this will be their willingness to live on what they need and use their surplus for the good of others instead of houses, cars, vacations and entertainment. Give it away (Ephesians 4:28).  (God does bless some very godly people with a lot of money. But if you set your heart on being rich, then your godliness is already being threatened. Your goal is not wealth. It is Him. Set your heart on Christ.) 3) Look up, not around. 4) Do not measure happiness by the size of the bank account or the number of creature comforts. 5) Find your happiness in what God has given you, what God has promised you, and what God is doing for you now, even if it is not money, health, friends and stuff. 6) Real happiness does not lie in the things that one possesses.

We need to hear the blessings and woes of Jesus and we need to believe them and we need to act accordingly so that we do not rob ourselves of the best for the sake of what should be counted as rubbish (Philippians 3:8).