Bible with Cross ShadowTo wrap up our survey of the sayings of Jesus, we shift our attention to Luke’s Gospel. Here we find several passages that harmonize with those of Matthew. We also find a couple of interesting additions.

Harmonizing the two accounts uncovers additional depths of understanding. For example, Luke’s Beatitudes add a physical, down to earth perspective to Matthew’s account. Both are true; encouraging us that Jesus was concerned about, and speaking to, all aspects of our lives.

We will come back to the harmonies sometime soon. For now, I would like to focus on a particular addition in Luke’s account: Jesus’ pronouncement of woes.

But woe to you who are rich,
For you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full,
For you shall hunger.
Woe to you who laugh now,
For you shall mourn and weep.
Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Luke 6:24-26

These woes represent life in, and for, the world. Interestingly, they match well with “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”; those things of the world we are warned will pass away (1John 2:17). Furthermore, if we love the world, or the things of the world, the love of the Father is not in us (v. 15).

One chapter later, John says the same thing about the one who has this world’s goods and shuts up his heart to his brother in need (1John 3:17): “How can the love of God be in him?” These are strong words of warning; words that warrant strong consideration.

Did you know that at least 90% of the world’s population lives below the American poverty line (being rich is a matter of perspective)? For most Americans this is a matter of pride and satisfaction; for “we are a great nation, blessed by God.”

We should not be so quick to celebrate. Jesus is saying that we have received our consolation. Whatever this means, it can’t be good. It’s a woe, remember.

Just to be clear: Jesus is not condemning the rich (at least, I don’t think so). He is simply saying that they have exchanged riches in this life for consolation in the next. That leaves me with a very strong conviction:

I do not want to be a rich man.

Seriously, it’s not worth it; not from an eternal perspective. I will take eternal consolation over earthly riches every time it’s offered. In fact, I don’t even want to be a steward that is rich. He is still rich; and the consolation, short lived.

I think the best thing to be is the steward of a rich Master. If I have truly forsaken all, that is what I am; no matter what He has entrusted to my keeping. BTW: He tells me I cannot be His disciple, if I do not (Luke 14:33). No wonder it’s a woe.

Last thought: Whatever we are entrusted with better be invested in the kingdom of God. Regrettably, the wicked and lazy servants will learn that lesson the hard way (Matthew 25:14-29).

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob