The Parables – Unrighteous Steward, Rich Man and Lazarus, pt.2

Please remember that this evening we are reading through the two parables found in Luke 16: The Unrighteous Steward and the Rich Man and Lazarus. There is no requirement that you read anything beforehand to come.

The primary issue addressed in this chapter is the role of wealth in salvation (or damnation).  Especially in Luke’s gospel, we find Jesus praising the poor and condemning the rich. For example, in Luke’s version of the Beatitudes (Luke 6:20-26), Jesus says “Blessed are the poor” and “Woe to the rich.” (Matthew’s version has “Blessed are the poor in spirit” without a parallel condemnation of the rich.) The question arises as to whether the “poor” in Scripture are those who have physical hunger or spiritual hunger.  In his discussions of the Beatitudes, Bailey points out that when the Old Testament speaks of the “poor” it generally means the humble and the pious who seek God (which are often the same as the monetarily deficient). For example, Psalm 86 begins with “I am poor and needy.”  The psalm is attributed to King David (himself hardly monetarily poor) and is a psalm of deliverance where the writer expresses his humility and reliance upon God alone not his lack of wealth.  Likewise, in Isaiah 66:2, God says that he searches for him who is poor, contrite in spirit, and trembles at his word.  Again, it is spiritual poverty, not economic poverty – although the two forms of poverty are related.  Therefore, in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, we see the two men exhibit the spiritual characteristics of their respective social classes, the economically poor Lazarus exhibits spiritual poverty, whereas the rich man does not.  If you have the opportunity today, take the time to list the spiritual characteristics (for example, humility, entitlement, pride, etc.) exhibited by each of the two men and see which class you fall into.

Dinner is at 6. Discussion around 6:45. The menu this week is lettuce-wraps. Hope to see you here, and bring a friend.

But you, O Lord my God,
  oh, deal with me according to your Name; *
  for your tender mercy’s sake, deliver me.

For I am poor and needy, *
  and my heart is wounded within me.

I have faded away like a shadow when it lengthens; *
  I am shaken off like a locust.

My knees are weak through fasting, *
  and my flesh is wasted and gaunt.

I have become a reproach to them; *
  they see and shake their heads.

Help me, O Lord my God; *
  save me for your mercy’s sake.

Psalm 109:20-25

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