Day 247 – How much of your money do you have to give away?

Today’s reading: Luke 19:1-27

In today’s reading, we find something very confusing because it seems to contradict something that we read just yesterday.  Jesus is in Jericho and he is sought out by the rich tax collector Zacchaeus.  Knowing that Zacchaeus is seeking him, Jesus calls to him and goes to eat at Zacchaeus’ house.  While there, Zacchaeus says to Jesus:

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:8-10

But this seems to contradict what Jesus told another rich man is our reading from yesterday:

When Jesus heard this he said to him, “There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when he heard this he became quite sad, for he was very rich. Luke 18:22-23

Both men are identified as being rich.  So what is the difference?

Just a little analysis makes their difference obvious.  Zacchaeus, the tax collector, is regretful of his misdeeds and has voluntarily made amends.  The other rich man thought he was already good so he saw no need to repent and was saddened at the thought of having to give away any of his money.  For him, no matter how much he gave away it would not have changed his relationship with the remainder, himself or the Lord.

So how much of your money do you have to give away?  That’s easy.  As much as necessary so that you are no longer attached to money.

Tomorrow: Luke 19:28-48

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