Don’t put your life in the hands of experts
who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don’t have what it takes;
when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
put your hope in God and know real blessing! Psalm 146:3-4 (The Message)
A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 (The Message)
Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (The Message)
But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Luke 16:25 (NRSV)
The story from Luke is disturbing. At first glance, it may seem like the reason the rich man is living in torment is that he is rich. A careful reading of the first verses provides more illumination. Lazarus spent every day at the rich man’s gate living on the scraps from his table with the dogs licking his sores. The rich man walked by that sight each day. Each day ignoring the suffering and torment of a fellow human being, which, in the long run, drove the rich man to a place of torment.
It’s not about the money, it’s about what we chase. Common wisdom tells to chase after what is temporal – nice place to live, looking good, feeling good (Peterson’s paraphrase of Amos 6 is fantastic), but none of it lasts, none of it truly satisfies. The scriptures today implore us to seek after what truly blesses, what truly satisfies, what truly gives salvation life not because that is what is “the good Christian” thing to do, but because that is how life works best – for others and ourselves.