The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:14–15, ESV)

It’s easy to read this passage and feel smugly superior to the poor, deluded, lovers-of-money known as the Pharisees who totally missed Christ and his message.  I think part of the takeaway I have from this verse is the little point that Christ slips in, almost unnoticed, as we pat ourselves on the back for being so much more perceptive than the money-loving Pharisees.

But God knows your hearts.  Yikes!  The point is directed towards the Pharisees, but surely it applies to us also.  Does God not know our hearts just as well as the Pharisees?  Might we be lovers of money, all the while proclaiming the name of Christ?  Might we be more interested in what is exalted among men, than we are in what is exalted in the sight of God?

If we do not allow this passage to come to bear on what is lurking away in the recesses of our own heart, then we will miss the point.  Jesus’ words resound, not only to the denarius-grabbing Pharisees, but to materialistic Americans, you know, people like me.

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