What I read: Luke 16
Observations: Jesus doesn’t shy away from the difficult topics. In this passage alone he hits on the issues of divorce and money within a few verses of each other. And whether these were sayings collected together later or actually delivered in close proximity, it’s clear that Jesus’ early followers had no issue following his lead in addressing difficult subjects. The final story (or parable) about Lazarus and the rich man is particularly challenging, as Jesus challenges the wealthy men of his day to reconsider the way that they are using (or not) their wealth to impact others around them who have less than they do. The rich man’s lack of concern for his neighbor was not necessarily even an active thing – it was passive. He didn’t actively seem abusive to Lazarus, he just neglected him.
Application: Most often I find that my shortcomings are not really the things that I do wrong (though those do occur fairly often) but in the area of things I should have done that I neglected to do. I try to hit what I think are the big things, but then fail to pay attention to those things, or more convictingly those PEOPLE, that seem little or insignificant. In many ways Jesus tells this parable to demonstrate how willing we are to overlook people, even the ones who literally or figuratively sit outside our doorways longing to be cared for.
Prayer: God make me more attentive, more aware, and even more compassionate towards those around me. Today I was simply convicted about the amount of stuff that I have, and the way that I work on accumulating more of it, and how stingy I can become with what I have when I come across someone else in need. I think too often I’m the rich man walking by Lazarus day after day at the gate to my house, and eventually coming to the point where I don’t even see him anymore. I pray that you would open my eyes again to my neighbors and their needs. I don’t want to be the kind of person who comes to the end of my life having accumulated possessions and not having accumulated the real kind of wealth that comes from being rich towards you and those you show me.