April 16, 2008
I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 2 Corinthians 8:13-14
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
According to the top executives of the nation's five largest oil companies, that's the way it is.
Appearing before a House Committee, the businessmen tried to explain just why their companies should keep getting billions of dollars in tax breaks even though last year they made a profit of one hundred and twenty-three billion dollars.
J. S. Simon, senior vice-president of Exxon, a company that, last year, made a record forty billion dollars said, "We depend on high earnings during the up cycle to sustain investment over the long term, including the down cycles."
A Democratic Congressman from Missouri spoke for many when he said, "The up cycle has been going on too long . . . Your approval rating is lower than (Congress) ours, and that means you're down low."
Christians, having felt the financial pinch at the oil pumps and the pain of winter heating bills, know believers should have a different outlook when it comes to using the gifts God has entrusted to them.
St. Paul, writing to the Christians at Corinth, said those who are financially blessed should do what they can to help those who are under duress.
After all, that is what Jesus has done for us. The Son of God left heaven's high throne to be born as a human being, to live under the law, to resist Satan's temptations, to die the death we deserved. All this Jesus endured so we might be forgiven of our sins, be safe, and made secure.
St. Paul summed up the Savior's redeeming sacrifice when he wrote, "though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).
It was the Father's way of making sure that all those who have faith in His Son as their Savior, never have a "down cycle."
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, be with those who are in extreme financial difficulty. May I, as one of the recipients of Jesus' sacrifice, do what I can to help those in difficulty. Finally, let those in business be given a reasonable profit along with a caring conscience. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
PS - Some readers of the Daily Devotion have asked me to write about the widely carried story of the woman, who, having become a "man" through a sex-change operation, is now pregnant. All I can say about that story is to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln. Frequently, he would ask people if you call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs will a dog have? Most people responded by saying the dog would have five legs. Lincoln would counter by pointing out the dog still has four legs. You can't turn a tail into a leg by giving it a different name. This is just my way of saying although the "woman" may have undergone some surgeries, and the media delights in saying "a man is pregnant," the truth is, "he" is pregnant because she is still a woman.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries