Will there be gentrification in Heaven?

You know what gentrification is, right? It’s where rich people drive poor people out of a neighborhood, essentially because they can afford to. They don’t want anything of what’s there already, except maybe the location. Everything else has to go. Do you think there’ll be gentrification in Heaven?

Will there be gentrification in Heaven?

You can see the gentrification happening in the adjacent image.

Nice, new, expensive homes in the background. High-rises with big balconies. Certainly, especially at the top, great views of the city. At least, great views at night, when you can’t see the run-down buildings with their run-down people who can’t afford to keep them up.

It’s happening all over my country, the U.S., and in other developed countries. The places that people want to live in are getting so expensive that only the upper class, and not even all of them, can afford to live there.

If I had to buy my home today, I couldn’t afford it. I sometimes wonder, if the value keeps going up, will we be able to pay the property taxes? Even in our small (for the Los Angeles area) city, prices are going up even as other parts of the country see prices go down.

In Los Angeles, people have to commute hours every day because they can’t afford to live anywhere near their jobs.

People, business people, complain about the minimum wage being too high. But what if we consider a living wage? A wage where people can actually afford to live anywhere near their place of work. That living wage would be even higher than the minimum wage. It’s just not going to happen.

And let’s get real. The people who have the money, own the property, and can afford to live in these places – they don’t want anyone else living near them. Sure, come here and work. Pick fruits and veggies. Make my food. Serve me my food. Clean up after I leave. Don’t expect a good tip, maybe no tip. Don’t expect health insurance. Don’t expect any of the things I have. And as soon as you’re done, go back where you belong – someplace far away from me. I don’t want to have to see you.

At least, that’s how it feels. What it seems like. We (my wife and I) aren’t among the poor. But we certainly aren’t some of those rich people either. But that’s what it feel like when we do go into LA.

More and more people can’t afford to live here. Certainly not their own house. And many can’t afford to rent either. In some cases, assuming you had a down payment, the monthly mortgage is less than monthly rent. But how do you save for the down payment?

So some “enterprising” people will come into a neighborhood. Buy a lot. Better yet, buy two. At least, buy a big lot. And then build a mansion on it. No yard? No problem. As long as the house is huge and makes everyone else know they don’t belong here anymore.

Then more rich people come in. Property values go up. Not for the houses, because they get torn down. It’s just for the land. The next thing you know, the old neighborhood is gone. And of course, along with it, so are the people and so is their culture.

Victory! (For the few).

Does that paint a pretty picture? Only if you’re rich and want to be part of the process.

Conclusion – Will there be gentrification in Heaven?

So let’s get right to the question.

Will there be gentrification in Heaven?

In one sense, yes, there absolutely will be gentrification in Heaven.

However, the change in neighborhood and people will be seen in the differences between here on earth and in Heaven. Here’s what I mean. It’s the ultimate gentrification, Heaven style.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Lk 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

Lk 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

Lk 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

Lk 16:27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

Lk 16:29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

Lk 16:30 “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

Lk 16:31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

Yes the rich man, even in Hell, still expects the poor man to take care of Him.

But Jesus has different plans.

And Jesus wins. The gentrification Jesus has for us is exactly the opposite of what we do. This should not be a surprise. It’s not like He didn’t tell us.

Sure, the one passage tells it quite clearly. But there’s a general theme that we should pick up o, even without this example of the rich man and Lazarus.

Who Will Be the Greatest? – Luke

9:46-48 pp — Mt 18:1-5
9:46-50 pp — Mk 9:33-40

Lk 9:46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”

Lk 9:49 “Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

Lk 9:50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

A final thought

So – are you still a fan of gentrification?

If you’re for it on earth, be careful what you ask for. You just might get what the rich man got.

If you’re a victim of it here on earth, maybe you’re all for it in Heaven. But you know, sometimes I write a piece like this and wonder, how come the Good News of the Gospel sometimes feels like it’s for the rich people? At least, they sometimes try to make us feel like that. Like politicians and their followers who use Christianity as a weapon against the poor, minorities, and others they don’t like.

But remember, the Good News of the Gospel was given first to shepherds, some of the most hated people in the culture when Jesus was born.

The Shepherds and the Angels

Lk 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Lk 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

Lk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Lk 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Lk 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

So yeah – gentrification in Heaven, Jesus style, will turn the tables on life here on earth. But only if we know about it. Those driving people out of their homes here – they’d like to pretend this isn’t really what God wants.

But for “the least” here on earth – this truly should be, and is, awesome news. If and when they learn about it.

For those that do know, when their little broken down churches are replaced by new, expensive, huge churches, I wonder, is there crying in Heaven? When the poor are driven out of their homes so someone can have far more space than they need, is there crying in Heaven?

How many things does every one of us do, every day, that affects whether we’ll be among the greatest in Heaven, the least in Heaven, or suffering along with the rich man in the other place?

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

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