Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Luke Remembered the Poor

Luke’s concept of almsgiving based on stewardship was unique and radical. We find more references to alms and almsgiving in his writings than anywhere else in the New Testament. In addition, Luke includes the Parable of the Unjust Steward, which has long been recognized as one of the most enigmatic passages in the New Testament.

In Acts 16:10, the author for the first time associates himself with the narrative we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God has called us to preach the gospel to them. It appears that Luke joined Paul and his group in Troas, went with them to Philippi in Macedonia but he did not accompany them when they left Philippi. Luke stayed behind to preach the gospel to them. Six or seven years later, the next “we” section begins in Philippi when Luke rejoins Paul and continues to the end of the book.

In 2 Cor. 8, Paul discusses the collection for the saints and the example of the Macedonians. In verse 2, Paul mentions the extreme poverty of the Macedonians. Paul tells us that the Macedonians gave to the utmost limits of their means and even beyond it in the face of severe hardship and poverty.

The Lucan Jesus informed us, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.”[i] The Macedonians collectively are the living embodiment of the poor widow. The contrast with the conduct of “the rich man dressed in purple”[ii] is so stark there can be no mistake about the meaning of the message.

Luke not only preached a radical concept of almsgiving, when he had the opportunity, he implemented it. What we see in the Macedonian example is the radical concept Luke advocated in his writings. I suggest that Luke is the brother of high reputation, well known and respected in all the communities for his commitment to the principle of the gospel.[iii] He had been appointed because he had gained the esteem of the congregations during the six or seven years he had served them as a minister of the word. The message he preached we know as the Gospel of Luke.

Only when we recognize that Luke has practiced what he preached would we understand the meaning of the radical teachings of his gospel.

[i] Luke 21:3-4.
[ii] Luke 16:19.
[iii] 2 Cor. 8:18.

copyrighted 2005


Blogger Sven said...

Excellent and thought provoking post :)


7:11 PM

Blogger David A. Croteau said...

Luke as the unknown man in 2 Cor 8:18 ... very creative! I'd never thought of that one. Do you know who else has been suggested? Luke is never mentioned in 1 or 2 Cor but he is in Col, 2 Tim, and Philemon ... so why would Paul leave his name out?

9:06 PM


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