Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spend Less 4 - Luke 16:19-31

Luke 16: 19-31

Depending on where you live in the Greater Austin area you may see more of less of the multitude of homeless and poverty stricken men and women begging at the street corners. I drive through the intersections of several of the main roads in Austin every day and it is not unusual for me to see 3-4 men and women at every intersection.

I see men and women sitting under the overpasses with all their worldly possessions at their sides. I have seen pregnant women, old women, young women. I have seen men holding up signs begging for money to pay for their medical care so that they don't orphan their children. I have seen veterans with obvious wounds from the war. I have seen men and women of different ages, races, and educational levels standing on the street corners asking for the help of those passing by.

Sometimes I see people and I give them something. But more often than not I drive on by without making eye contact because I am ashamed to not be sharing my abundance with them. What makes me so ashamed when I willfully drive by those who have less than me is that I recognize my greed. I don't ignore them because I can't afford to share money or food with them. I drive by them because I would rather spend the money on myself and my family. I would rather buy that $4 holiday latte from Starbucks or go meet my girlfriends for lunch than give the 'out of work Dad' $10 or a bag of groceries. I would rather go buy something for myself or my family at that great BOGO sale than provide a warm shirt or a sleeping bag for someone who sleeps under the bridge at night.

My greed is fueled partly by my desire to fit in and partly by laziness. I want fit in and not stand out because I am wearing something that is a little worn or not as fashionable as it was last year. I don't want to spend hours clipping coupons or making sure I go to the grocery store with the best sales that week.

The parable Jesus tells us today is a little shocking. Do we really choose whether we get our reward on earth or in heaven by the choices we make in this transient lifetime?

I don't know for sure. What I do know, however, is that Jesus calls us to share what he gives us. If he has given to us abundantly, we have a greater responsibility to share that abundance with those who have lack.

If we spend less on ourselves and our families so that we could give more to those who are truly in need we might be surprised at how little we feel deprived. Maybe by sharing what we have with others, we can find joy in our salvation rather than joy in the transitory feeling of acquisition.

Father God, forgive us for passing by all those who are living such desperate lives of poverty. Help us to want and need less so that we can share with others out of the abundance you have graciously given to us. Amen.



Anonymous December 8, 2011 at 9:03 AM  

Thank you for sharing this honest message. I lead a freshman girls small group, and will use this as a focal point of our discussion this week, if you don't mind. I see myself in this as well, and I don't like it. Thanks.

Chesney December 8, 2011 at 6:20 PM  

It is hard to look at ourselves sometimes, isn't it? Thank God we are forgiven and given a new chance each day!