Saturday, December 2, 2000

Read Luke 16:19-31

Wealth Corrupts our Spirituality

The trouble with the rich man was that he forgot his religion. He was so wrapped up in the trappings of his wealth that he could not see the one needing help at his very own doorstep. He must have known he was there for he knew Lazarus' name. But did he have pity on him? Did he acknowledge him? Not while they were living.

The rich man de-personalized Lazarus, thus denying his humanity. This was his sin. This was evidence of the shallowness of his spirituality. Pride smothers concern for others. Pride convinces us that we have been favored by God and must have done something to deserve it. We magnify our own value and importance; in so doing we minimize or negate the value of those like Lazarus. Like the rich man we wallow in our status symbols, both material and intellectual. We succumb to the "more is better" mentality. We forget that the gospel mandate is to identify with and help the poor. This story warns us to heed the teachings of Jesus and focus on living out his precepts and principles NOW. The poor among us help us rich folk to understand what truly matters in Christ's eyes.

Where do we erect our gates? Where are the boundaries of our care? I think this parable challenges us to extend our boundaries and break down some of the dividing walls that separate us from those who are needy. The challenge is a spiritual one, not a material one. Gratitude for our blessings is not enough. We need to understand that those blessings are to be used to glorify God, to act on God's behalf in the world. The poor can bring good news to us. --SFG

Prayer: O God, open my eyes, open my ears, open my mind and my heart, open the gate of my being that today I might grow in understanding of you as I recognize you in the Lazarus's I meet. Amen.

Next Devotional | Back to Advent Devotional | WUMFSA Homepage