Reading: Luke 16
It strikes me how aggressively Jesus goes after wealth and the accumulation of it. You cannot serve both God and money.
As a citizen of the Western Empire His critique of wealth and the pursuit of material things is unsettling. Our society pushes us to take, to gain, to consume, we are encouraged, perhaps even conditioned not to see those that our wealth harms, those who suffer at the hands of our prosperity.
Recently, I have despised the term less fortunate in reference to the poor. The term for me seems to infer the idea that the poor have become so by chance, that it was an unlucky mistake, and so good citizen’s should do something to help them.
But, my friends who are living on our streets did not get there by accident. Our whānau who even now suffer and struggle due to poverty are not in the situation they’re in because of an unlucky chance.
No, poverty is the result of a series of choices that societies, communities and nations make, and continue to make.
Nothing that is, must remain that way.
In this parable, Lazarus is the face of the poor, he is the homeless man you ignore on the way to your bus, he is the little girl who died because she lacked safe housing, he is the mother starving herself again tonight because her kids barely have enough to make a full meal.
Lazarus lies at our door, but our eyes are closed. We have chosen to blind ourselves to the One in need.
To reject the One who suffers.
When Jesus critiques the greed of the comfortable, his critique is motivated both by concern for those who fall victim to the systems that create poverty, but equally His concern is for us, the rich, the comfortable, the middle class wealthy.
For when we ignore the suffering of our own whānau, closing our eye’s, in order to benefit from their pain, it does something to our humanity. We become a distorted version of ourselves, and put at risk, our very soul.