Rich Man Poor Man (Luke 16:19-20)

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Most Americans tend to believe that a person’ social status reveals his true worth. In their judgment, if someone is very poor, it’s probably because he doesn’t deserve anything better. At least that’s what John E. Tropman, a University of Michigan professor, found in a study he conducted. The majority of the people he interviewed felt that the lowest-class Americans are at the bottom of the ladder because they waste their time and are too lazy to work. But the professor said that such a generalization is unfair. It overlooks the fact that more than half of the nation’s citizens whose annual earnings fall below the government’s poverty level hold down jobs.

The Bible agrees with Tropman’s view. Scripture says we cannot judge someone’s character on the basis of his financial worth. He may be penniless and still possess true wealth. Lazarus, for instance, was a beggar in this life, but he entered eternity to join the company of Abraham. His social standing before death bore no relationship to his association after death. This suggests that someone who must depend on charity doesn’t forfeit his worth and dignity as a person.

How careful we need to be in our attitude toward the poor! Any number of valid reasons may explain why some people live in poverty, just as there are good reasons for others being wealthy. This fact, along with the account of the rich man and the poor man in Luke 16, should be enough to dispel the idea that what we possess is a true measure of what we are worth. – Martin R. De Haan II

 He possessed all the world had to give him,

He had reached every coveted goal;

But, alas, his life was a failure,

For he had forgotten his soul. – Denison

 We are not made rich by what is in our pockets but by what is in our hearts.

  • June 17, 1985, Our Daily Bread 
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