"But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. (Luke 6:24 NRSV)
Sometimes the words of Jesus, taken out of context, can cause us real problems. Imagine if you and I were sales people and we had invited Jesus to speak at our annual sales banquet. Imagine Jesus standing up as the guest speaker, looking us over with a strange mixture of anger and compassion, and then speaking these words:

"But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets."

Can't you see the banquet hall grow suddenly still with people lowering their eyes and speaking to one another in hushed tones.

Jesus often spoke to specific situations and thus taught specific strategies to deal with those situations. For example, the economic situation was much different in his day than ours. Many who had obtained wealth had done it by exploiting others--some by exploiting the political system. What was even more grievous was what wealth did to people. It caused them to turn a blind eye to those who were not as fortunate as they. May we not turn a blind eye to those we see in need.

Lord Jesus, may I use the blessings you have given to me to help others. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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