Thursday, April 27

Open heart, open hands

Scripture: Luke 16

Luke 16:13–15 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” 

14 The Pharisees (who loved money) heard all this and ridiculed him. 15 But Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in men’s eyes, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly prized among men is utterly detestable in God’s sight.

Observation

In these two stories, Jesus deals with our attitudes about money and concludes the first story by saying you can’t serve both God and money. The Pharisees who loved money turned their noses up (literal meaning)—sneering at Him. But Jesus reminded them that God knew their hearts and that human pride is an abomination to God.

“What is highly prized among men” may be translated “what people are proud of”—referring to the pride that comes with riches, power and position. What we take pride in God finds detestable. 

The second story illustrates this. The rich man is unnamed and goes to hell. The poor man, Lazarus, goes to heaven. This must have been shocking in a culture where wealth was considered a sign of God’s blessing and favor, and poverty was a curse. 

Application

So what does God value? Not pride, but humility. Not wealth, but care for others. Not accumulating money as an end in itself, but using money to meet needs. 

Like Paul in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.” I’ve lived happily with and without—I prefer living with! But the critical thing is not how much I have, but what I do with it. If I hoard or use it only to indulge myself, I’m serving the wrong god. If I use it to meet my needs and the needs of others, if I’m generous and open-handed, God is pleased. 

I’m very grateful for the abundance I enjoy in this season of my life. I want to finish well, and that means not loving money, but loving God and people. Open heart, open hands. 

Prayer: Lord I love You. These two stories are very challenging. You have been very generous with me, and I want to respond by being equally generous with You and others. Open heart, open hands. All I have is Yours. 

More: Judges 19, Psalm 50, 1 Corinthians 14