Lessons from Luke: the Beatitudes
The beatitudes are statements by Christ that provide the guide or example of how those of us who are a part of God’s kingdom should order our lives. The most famous passage on the beatitudes is found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. This is the list that includes “blessed are the meek”, “blessed are they that mourn”, etc. In Luke chapter six, we find a similar list recounted by the author. It is certain that Christ spoke these principles on a regular basis throughout his ministry in order to clearly illustrate how a follower of Christ should behave.
Several of the beatitudes that we find in Luke mention the subject of money. We will dwell on those today:
v. 20b: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Here is another example of the prominence of the subject of money in the book of Luke. Matthew refers to these folks as the “poor in spirit” while Luke simply refers to them as the “poor”. Remember Luke is concerned with demonstrating that spiritual wealth is far more important than earthly wealth. Both Matthew and Luke are heading in the same direction – we need to live with only heavenly values as our guide. The believer who is poor has no choice but to rest in the promises of Scripture, he has nothing else on which to lean. The rich will find it difficult to be “poor in spirit” since their wealth is a source of confidence and a distraction from what is most important. Christ is saying that the poor in spirit will live closer to the kingdom of God.
Can a wealthy person also be “poor in spirit”? Certainly, but the point that Luke makes over and over is that those who seek after earthly wealth have priorities in opposition to the priorities of the kingdom.
v. 24 But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.
Several verses later, Luke moves away from those who will be blessed in the kingdom in order to pronounce “woe” upon others. As expected, the rich occupy a place of prominence in the list of “woes”. Luke also mentions the “well-fed”, those who “laugh” and those who are treated well. The danger is that these individuals are not forced to seek after God, they are more likely to trust in the false security of the comforts of this life.
v. 34,35 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
One of the most difficult acts that a human being can attempt is to give with no thought of receiving something in return. Think about it: how many times have you actually given sacrificially without any chance of getting something in return. There is almost always an “angle” when we give anything away. Remember the admonitions of Scripture to “love our enemy”? That might be the only way to give with no thought of “get”. Give something to someone who you despise or who despises you . . . wow.
The bottom line? We do not deserve to take another breath, why do we think that we deserve the comforts of this life?
Article by Stew
Photo by TommyClicks