Prayer: Almighty God, help us to put you first in our lives. Amen.
Reading: Luke 16:19-31 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: My children like to have races, particularly up the steps of our home when it’s bathtime. Sometimes, they race out of the bath to the sink to brush their teeth. They want to be first.
My son, who is a loving and caring boy, often will remark when he and I are racing, “It was a tie, daddy!” He usually beats me up the stairs but wants to make sure I feel good at the end of our race, too.
My daughter, who often gets upset if she is not #1, will often point to the Bible. “Well in the Bible it says the last shall be first and the first shall be last!”
Both my children have a way of making everyone feel like winners. In fact, I’m reminded as I write this of how many times during a summer our staff says, “Everyone’s a winner at Camp Mount Luther!”
In our story today, I’m reminded of being first and last and having that world literally turned upside down. The rich man thinks he “has it all.” He probably didn’t even bother to give Lazarus the time of day. But later, Lazarus is the one who “has it all” and is seated next to Abraham, in a prominent place.
As I reflect on this story, I think about the children’s sermon that I heard preached yesterday at church. Our supply pastor reminded the kids that it is more important to put God first rather than money. I’ve been thinking about that in the last day and wonder how often I make decisions based on the “almighty dollar” instead of “Almighty God.” I’m going to continue thinking about that in the coming days and hope you would, too. How do we truly put God first in our lives? --Chad Hershberger
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