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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
September 24, 2004

Woe to those who live in luxury
     and expect everyone else to serve them!
Woe to those who live only for today,
     indifferent to the fate of others!
Woe to the playboys, the playgirls,
     who think life is a party held just for them!
Woe to those addicted to feeling good - life without pain!
     those obsessed with looking good - life without wrinkles!
They could not care less
     about their country going to ruin.
But here's what's really coming:
     a forced march into exile.
They'll leave the country whining,
     a rag-tag bunch of good-for-nothings.

Amos 6:4-7 (Message*)

     There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.
     Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.'
     But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.'
     The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.'
     Abraham answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.'
     'I know, Father Abraham,' he said, 'but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.'
     Abraham replied, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'

Luke 16:19-31 (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.
     But if it's only money these leaders are after, they'll self-destruct in no time.

     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 6:6-9, 17-19 (Message*)

The Bible is full of warnings to the rich. Those above are from the Common Lectionary readings for this coming Sunday. Virtually all of us who read this are relatively rich by world standards. Probably none of us is in circumstances comparable to those of Lazarus in his earthly life. We need to prayerfully consider these messages. Are we free from obsession with wealth? Are we building "a treasury that will last"?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2004 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 02-Oct-2004 21:11:48 EDT