“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your comfort already.”
In contrast to the blessings He has just pronounced (vv.20-22) Jesus now makes four “Woe to you…” statements. These are directed at people who, unlike the disciples, refused to follow Him, refused to give up their excesses, and refused to acknowledge Jesus as Lord (perhaps they thought He was a liar or a lunatic).
The woes coming on those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord stand opposite their current situation. Today, for example, Jesus says that the conclusion the rich are heading towards is unenviable because they have received [their] comfort already. Live your best life now?
For you and for me this should be a clarion call to look at what we have in our lives, think about what we need in our lives, and make changes if there is disparity.
Do we have a wardrobe of clothes we seldom wear?
Do we buy too much food and inevitably throw it away?
Do we keep 100% of our income for ourselves and our own needs and desires?
Are we, perhaps without thinking, living a life of indulgent comfort whilst there are people in our church families and communities that are struggling to make ends meet?
The call to follow Jesus absolutely involves putting yourself second (Philippians 2.3-4, Romans 12.10, 1 Corinthians 10.24, 1 Timothy 5.8, for example). Being materially rich and living a life of indulgent comfort is, as Jesus said here, living as if you have received your comfort already. Your best life is not now. Enjoy now, yes. Indulge in the now at the expense of your faith life, no.
Really practically, make a budget today (if you don’t have one). Look at what you have coming in, look at where you want to use your finances.
Look around your home today and see if there are clothes you haven’t worn in six months. If there are, give them away.
Do the same with shoes, stuff, and anything you feel is stopping you from living the life that you’re called to live: one of selfless love, valuing other people more highly than yourself, and one of not being worldly rich.