““Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” Luke 6.23-26
To be honest, I like the first part of this passage better! Verse 23 really belongs with the first segment, as Jesus tells those who are suffering now that “great is your reward in heaven.” But verses 24-26 involve four “woes” that should be a wake up call to every believer and nonbeliever alike.
The first “woe” is to those who are rich, “for you have already received your comfort.” Now in truth, we are all rich to some extent. Rich in heart, rich in relationships, rich materially. I can’t help but think Jesus was addressing the upper religious class. And as much as I would like to think myself excluded, I am not. I do live comfortably, am I not susceptible to judgement? This woe is intended for us to evaluate ourselves, our wealth, and how much we worship those possessions rather than God himself.
The second “woe” speaks to those who are “well fed now” for “you will go hungry.” And again, conviction strikes home. Have I become numb to my comforts? Consumed with my well being? What about the poor, the hurting and the hungry? How can I bless them and be faithful to those God puts in my path?
The third “woe” is for “those who laugh now, you will mourn and weep.” Ok now I am just down right depressed! What was Jesus thinking? Was he just trying to be a kill joy? I think not. I think God wants us to be aware of those around us no matter our station in life. We must never forget the poor in spirit and the poor in possessions. We must be sober and remember those who need love, comfort and peace.
The final “woe” is a warning to those of whom everyone speaks well. “That is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” Again, Jesus was addressing Galileans as well as those from Jerusalem and all parts of Israel. Some were humble fishermen, some farmers and some temple leaders, Pharisees and the like. Regardless of how much we have or don’t have, our hearts must be devoted to the Lord. He is our judge and our redeemer.
There is no better time than today for self-examination. Am I living for the Lord, to make disciples and build his kingdom, or am I living for my own enrichment, betterment and comfort? Let’s ask these honest questions of the Lord and pray his Holy Spirit redirect our path so our steps might be in alignment with his purpose and pleasure for our existence and for his glory.
“O Lord God, today is a hard word and I know I did it injustice! I know I breezed over the parts that really convict my heart and soul. How can I live so that you are glorified? How can I praise you with all you have given me? How can I be a good steward of every blessing from you? I love you Lord and praise your name. Thank you for allowing me to walk in newness of life and to find salvation in Jesus alone. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen