Every life has good and trouble — or to use the terms of Luke 6, blessings and woes. Each day has some of both. A card of encouragement and a hospital bill come in the same mail box: blessing and woe. A perfectly baked potato and an overdone steak are served as part of the same meal: blessing and woe. Everyone enjoys the blessings of the day and seeks to avoid the woes — so we give thanks for notes and potatoes and we appeal bills and send back steaks.
But these daily blessings and woes are not ultimate; they are simply a foretaste of what is to come. In contrast, there are blessings and there are woes that are ultimate and final. They will come when one leaves this life. The wise man is the one who seeks the blessings that are ultimate and does not concern himself with the woes that are temporary. This is the message of the beatitudes given by Christ in Luke 6.
What is of interest about the beatitudes as Luke records them is that he also records a series of corresponding woes given by Christ. Stated simply, they look like this:
Those who seek the blessing of God are willing to endure earthly loss and temporal sorrows knowing that what they have lost is not ultimate, so that they could gain that which is eternal. They would rather be humbled here to know the riches of God’s blessing later.
In contrast, those who seek pleasure on earth are seeking pleasures here that can only be found in Christ and heaven. They turn earthly treasures into ultimate desires and quests, and in so doing, they lose eternal riches and joys.
In every day, our responses to every minor blessing and woe reveal what we are living for.
Always live for the treasures that are ultimate. Live for Christ and eternity, and the things you lack and lose here will never be a final grief and sorrow.