Archive for May 6th, 2008

Woe!

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 6:24-26 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Melody Merida):

I must admit when I first read verse 24 I thought, “Whew! Good thing I’m not rich!” I mean, I’d like to receive consolation from God but apparently one can’t if rich. So, again, good thing I’m not rich. I’ll be perfectly happy with my lower middle class status.

Then I read on to verse 25 and started to get a little worried. As you can tell by looking at me, I’m pretty well fed. Gulp! Does that mean God will make me go hungry in the future?

Things went from bad to worse when I continued reading — “Woe to you who laugh now.” Now I’m really nervous because I laugh more than the average person. Sometimes I laugh inappropriately at things that shouldn’t make me laugh at all — nervous laughter, I believe it’s called. Now I know that I’m in big trouble because soon, according to this Scripture, I’ll be mourning and weeping.

And then verse 26 is the cherry on my “I’m-going-to-get-what’s-coming-to-me” sundae! You see, for some crazy reason most people tend to speak well of me (it must be the people who don’t know me well enough to speak the truth). I’m doomed! Many people that I know and love are doomed!

When Jesus says, “Woe!” it makes me perk up and listen. He says it four times in these three short verses. How am I to know what this means for me now, thousands of years after Jesus spoke these words?

What I hear Jesus saying to me is to stop and take stock of the things in my life on which I place the most value. You see, I am rich. Most all of us are. The real question is whether or not I’m trying to find fulfillment in those riches. If so, that is my temporary consolation; it will not last. Only fulfillment found in Jesus can last. The same is true for food, good times, friends, and popularity — all things mentioned here. There is certainly a draw to these things and they do indeed bring a temporary joy. But the only true delight can come when we delight ourselves in the Lord. God alone is able to truly comfort us and to provide us with what we need to be full in all aspects of our lives.

This passage reminds me of Luke 16:25, in which Abraham sees the rich man who is in agony while Lazarus the poor beggar is feasting in heaven. “Abraham replied [to the rich man], ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony’.”

Thought for the day: Woe! What am I using to help fill me? Will it comfort me or cause me agony in the long run? God, I want to rely solely on your remarkable goodness to sustain and comfort me. Amen.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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