Summary: Wealth versus poverty, blind spots, kingdom building

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(American Wealth and a World of Poverty)

Luke 16: 19-31 (p 741) Oct. 9, 2011

I’m gonna prefix this sermon with a few important statements…one of them might be the biggest understatement I’ve ever made….”I am not an economic or fiscal expert”. I pay my bills on time…I have spent some time discussing financial issues…including debt and investments with very wise financial people…but I’m a minister…

And second we need to understand that God’s word never teaches that wealth is inherently evil…Scripture never condemns riches or possessions in and of themselves…In fact; scripture teaches that God gives us material resources for our good.

The apostle Paul writes “Command (strong word huh?!!) Those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share” (1st Tim. 6: 17-18)

Money and possessions are not necessarily bad. God intends them to be for our enjoyment and the spread of His glory…

But there are some radical questions that as a minister I must ask…and I will try to ask these questions in scriptural context….


It is a fact that in today’s world more than a billion people live and die in desperate poverty…they survive on less than 1 dollar a day.

Close to 2 billion others live on less than 2 dollars per day…that means more than half the world will struggle today to find food, and water…I spent more on my lunch at Subway yesterday than half the world has to find food, water and resources for survival for the week.

More than 26,000 children today will breathe their last breath because of starvation or because of a preventable disease.

That’s 26,000 Xavier’s…and Peyton’s…

Each of us agrees that Jesus has commanded us to “Go”, “Baptize”, “Teach”…making disciples of all nations.

But it’s very easy for me to have a blind spot when it comes to nations outside America…or better put…it’s easier for me to take care of and love people who talk like me, think like me and look like me…we start with a lot in common and that makes sharing Christ with them easier and comfortable for me.

But then I think…”Rick, are you like that rich man in Jesus’ story?”

Jesus told this story to a group of religious leaders who loved money and justified their excesses because of the culture around them.

Jesus tells them about a rich man who lives in luxury while he ignores a poor man, Lazarus, who sat outside his gate, covered with sores and surrounded by dogs, eating the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table…

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