Prosperity According to the Gospel

I’m challenged by the scripture for this week’s sermon. It’s Luke 6:20-26. He tells his disciples, “Blessed are you who are poor…blessed are you who are hungry…blessed are you who weep now.” Jesus calls the hurting and the vulnerable of the world “blessed.”

And then Jesus has some hard words for the powerful of the world when he says, “Woe to you who are rich…woe to you are full…woe to you who are laughing.”

Luke’s gospel shows us time and again God’s plan to turn the world upside down. If I’m honest with myself, I belong in more of the latter categories. By the world’s standards, I am rich. I have two cars, a house, two college degrees. We have enough food to feed a football team in our refrigerator.

We hear the word “prosperity” thrown around a lot these days. American prosperity seems to me to be rooted in the accumulation of wealth, goods and services. I’m guilty of such pursuits. Jesus is putting people like me on notice. It’s clear that God is on the side of the poor. He calls them blessed. Prosperity according to the gospel is not defined by wealth. God’s notion of prosperity is found in seeing people as God sees them.

But there’s good news in the bad news. The good news is we can make changes and reset priorities. God has called for a reversal of how we use our resources. In my own devotional life, I’m thinking about the season of Lent (the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter) as a time to support more initiatives to help the poor of the earth. It’s my hope that God will help me see more clearly and lovingly the people he calls blessed.



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