Not once in over twenty years of ministry have I been asked to provide pastoral care for someone who received a raise or promotion. On the other hand people living on the margins—those who lost a job and dependent on our food pantry for meals or who weep over a sudden illness or death of a family members—they call regularly for they have no where else to turn for solace but to God.
Matthew includes hedge words in his version of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit … Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness …” Luke however emphasizes that Jesus pronounces a blessing on those who are materially poor by pairing each blessing with a woe against those who are materially well off.
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. … But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.Luke 6:20b, 24 (NRSV)
Jesus does not expect the wealthy, well fed, joyous, exemplars of society to become poor, hungry, depressed, and reviled for the sake of the gospel. Instead Jesus expects those who have been entrusted with wealth, health, and power to be fully reliant on God and to use their gifts accordingly. Thus those who have received a promotion or raise are most at risk spiritually for relying on their success instead of being fully reliant on God.
I will have more to say about Luke 6:17-26 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church at 8:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, February 17th.
Robert Shaw, Pastor
A Tip for Parents
How do you explain trust?
Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.Jeremiah 17:7
We recently purchased new potholders, a pair of insulated gloves to use when lifting a pan from the oven. The older long used set had developed thin places where the heat could come through. Plus if they got wet, they were useless. Our new pair solves both of those problems, so I can trust them to keep my hands safe.
Jeremiah’s tells us that we can always trust God.