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Text: Luke 6:20-36 | Listen to Message
Whose Blessing Are You Living For?
“Woe to you who are rich…Woe to you who are full…Woe to you who laugh…Woe to you when all people speak well of you.” (Luke 6:24-26)
What’s up with statements like these? Is Jesus automatically opposed to people who happen to have or enjoy nice things? As you might expect, the answer isn’t so simplistic or superficial.
Here, like everywhere, Jesus is interested with issues of the heart. It’s not that it’s inherently wrong to have money, or to enjoy a nice meal, or to laugh, or to have someone praise you for something kind you’ve done. And it’s not like it’s intrinsically virtuous to be poor and hungry. There are humble rich people and there are the proud poor.
So why does Jesus bless poverty, hunger, grieving, and persecution? And why does he have such strong words of warning for the wealthy, the satisfied, the fun-loving, and the popular?
The real heart-level question is, “Whose blessing are you living for?” Are you willing to forsake everything that everyone else around you is living for? Are you willing to pursue Christ and trust God to bless you however He wants? Or are you going to try to bless your own life – right here and now?
See, the real issue isn’t money, satisfaction, pleasure, or approval, per se. Jesus’ concern is for the heart that is driven by – and dependent on – these things.
To bring it into the 21st Century, Jesus is essentially saying, “The American Dream is a terrible thing to live for! Why would anyone sacrifice eternity – and the blessings of a generous God forever – for a few short years of self-indulgent pursuits? What a waste! What a tragedy that you would chase one short-lived pleasure after another – and then lose it all forever!”
So what is the alternative to the life Jesus warns against? It’s not foolishly disposing of everything you have, quitting your job, and living in the gutter. It is forsaking the need to bless yourself on your own terms, and inclining your heart toward God – believing that He Himself is your exceeding great reward.