A Story About a Lover of Money

Poor Lazarus at the Rich Man's Door

The Poor Lazarus at the Rich Man’s Door (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

Luke 16:19–31 (ESV)

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Often mistaken as a historical account, this parable is commonly referred to as The Rich Man and Lazarus. Jesus is still addressing the Pharisees who Luke calls “lovers of money.” Luke’s Gospel speaks a great deal about the proper place of money and possessions and warns about covetousness. Jesus calls us to use our wealth for the glory of God and to further the kingdom rather than hoarding it for our own selfish desires.

The parable describes a poor man named Lazarus and an unnamed rich man. Lazarus, who was also covered in sores, was a beggar who desired to eat some of the food that would fall from the rich man’s plate. When the two died, Lazarus is ushered to the side of Abraham with the people of God. The rich man, on the other hand, went to Hades and was in constant torment every day. This would have been quite shocking since wealth was seen as the blessing of God and poverty, God’s curse. Jesus’ hearers would have expected opposite fates for the rich man and Lazarus.

In Hades, the rich man called out for relief, but none was granted. Instead, he was told that he had enjoyed all of his good things in life. Rather than obey the Scriptures by loving others such as Lazarus and putting the things of God first, the rich man had lived selfishly with no regard for God or others. As a result, God’s judgment had fallen upon him and it was fixed.

Jesus spoke a great deal about our attitude towards wealth because our attitude towards money and possessions is a key indicator of our relationship with the Lord. When our relationship with the Lord is healthy, money is understood as a tool that is necessary for life in this world and as an opportunity for us to glorify God. We can use our wealth to further the kingdom of God in the world by helping the poor, giving to our church, or supporting missionaries on the field, etc. However, if we cling too tightly to our money and think of it only as our own, we reveal that we have an idol. All we have is the Lord’s and how we use it tells us a great deal about ourselves.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Do You Serve God or Money?

photography of one us dollar banknotes

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Luke 16:10–13 (ESV)

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 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.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

It has been said, “Show me a person’s checkbook and I will tell you what is really important to that person.” I find this to be a true statement. Where a person spends his money reflects what is truly important. It is also true that a person who mishandles a small amount of money and possessions will mishandle a larger amount. A person does not magically become a better and wiser steward when given more.

Jesus’ primary point in these verses is summarized in the last verse. One cannot serve two masters. A person cannot serve God and money. Jesus’ point is not to say that money is evil in and of itself. Money has its proper place. It is a tool that we use in our world. We need it for basic survival. We can also use money for great good by helping others or using it to help spread the gospel message. However, it can become a great idol when we think of money as the source of happiness and fulfillment. When we think this way, not only are our affections misplaced, but we will spend all of our time trying to gain more of it. It will consume our thoughts and actions. When this happens, it has become our master.

We are called to worship God and God alone. We are to have no idols. So, for the believer, God must be the focus of our affections and actions. All that we do is for him, including how we use our money and possessions. We must use it for his glory and to fulfill his will. How we use our money is an opportunity to worship our Lord and to show who we truly belong to. In the end, we will give an account for how we have used the things that God has given to us. Will we prove that we are trustworthy stewards of the things of God?

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Your Name Endures Forever

photo of night sky

Photo by faaiq ackmerd on Pexels.com

 

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 135:13–21 (ESV)

13 Your name, O LORD, endures forever,
your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.
14 For the LORD will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.

15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
16 They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
17 they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.

19 O house of Israel, bless the LORD!
O house of Aaron, bless the LORD!
20 O house of Levi, bless the LORD!
You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
21 Blessed be the LORD from Zion,
he who dwells in Jerusalem!
Praise the LORD!

Not to Us, but to Your Name Give Glory

Psalm 1151 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 115:1–8 (ESV)

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When the Lord acts to save his people, he alone deserves the glory. That is what the psalmist is saying in these verses. The people of Israel were often attacked by surrounding nations. Those nations were devoted to other gods; gods that were just idols made by the hands of men. Yet, when those nations were successful in their oppression of Israel, it made it seem as if their gods were stronger than the God of Israel. So, this psalm calls out for God to glorify his name, not Israel, by defeating the enemies.

When we enter into the Christian worldview, we come to understand that there is a grand story that we are a part of. That story is the story of God and he is the hero. All that takes place in our lives is not ultimately about us, but about him. It is to bring him glory. This is why the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give glory!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Exalted Far above All Gods

human statue under clear sky

Photo by Andreea Ch on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 97:6–9 (ESV)

6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. 7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods! 8 Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O Lord. 9 For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.

Understanding and Applying the Word

There is one God and all of creation proclaims his glory. However, mankind is prone to worship other things. Anything that receives the love and admiration that properly belongs to God alone is idolatry. Those who worship such idols will be put to shame when the Lord reveals his glory to all.

When we think of idolatry, we are likely to think of carved images made from wood or stone. These are the religious idols that are most common, but idols can consist of other things as well. When we make something else the center of our affections and pursuit, it can become an idol. Some of the things that can take the place of God in our lives are money, possessions, our jobs, sex, or even our family. Nothing is wrong with any of these things. All of them are good things, but when they become central in our lives rather than God, they become an idol. This psalm reminds us that God is the one and only God and all other “gods” must worship him (v. 7). All things must find their proper place in light of who God is and one day they all will. Let us even now give our total worship to the one and only God who is the Creator of all things.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

That They May Know

Stone Tomb

Reading the Word

Psalm 83:14–18 (ESV)

14 As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, 15 so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane! 16 Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord. 17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, 18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm calls for God to destroy the enemies of Israel. Not only that, but it calls for God to do so in dramatic fashion. Why? “That they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.”

In the time of these events, the enemies of Israel would have worshiped other gods. If they had defeated Israel, surely they would have given credit to their idols as being the superior gods or even the true gods. The psalmist calls out for God to act so that it would be clear who the true God is.

Christians know who the true God is because of the resurrection. Jesus Christ came into the world to proclaim the word of God and to die for sinners so that we could find forgiveness. If Jesus had simply died and stayed in the grave, we would have no reason to believe his words and we would have no reason for hope (1 Corinthians 15:12-28). However, Christ did not stay in the grave. On the third day he rose from the dead. The resurrection is the proof that Jesus is who he claimed to be and that we can trust in his words. He is the true God who came into the world to save us!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Our Idols

close up photography hindu deity

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 78:54–58 (ESV)

54 And he brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had won. 55 He drove out nations before them; he apportioned them for a possession and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents. 56 Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep his testimonies, 57 but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers; they twisted like a deceitful bow. 58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places; they moved him to jealousy with their idols.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Even after God showed his power and compassion to the people of Israel by bringing them out of slavery in Egypt and settling them in the Promised Land, they turned away from him. The people did not keep the covenant that they had made with God and they turned to idolatry.

Before we ask how the Israelites could do such a thing, we need to ask ourselves if we do the same.How often do we adopt the gods of our culture? Some examples of the false gods of our culture are celebrities, sports, money, and self. We may not set up high places and idols carved from wood or stone, but we certainly make things more important than they should be, even more important than God himself, in our lives. Let us repent and thank God for his grace for saving sinners like us. He is certainly a gracious God!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!