“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 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.’ 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.’” – Luke 16:19-25 (NIV)
Today’s scripture tells us the story of two men. One was rich and used his wealth on himself, ignoring the obvious needs of those around him. The other was poor, having great needs that were obviously being overlooked by more than just the one rich man. Both lived out an earthly existence, and both died leaving what they knew on earth. The rich man did not end up in hell because of his money, and the poor man did not go to heaven because he lacked money. That is not the point of this parable.
The point Jesus was making in this parable is that our earthly existence is preparation for eternity. If the rich man had stopped worshipping himself and turned to God for forgiveness and for his life’s purpose, he would have had a different eternal destination. If the poor man had been so focused on his poverty and place in society that he became a hater of God and people, he too would have had a different eternal destination.
Compared to most people on planet earth, we are wealthy as was the rich man in the story. Through technology, each day we see the world lying at our gate. We can see people who are starving to death, ravaged by disease, and are begging for their daily needs. What are you doing with your wealth? Could you exchange some comfort to begin a monthly sponsorship that would see physical and spiritual needs addressed in the life of a modern day Lazarus?
Even those who know the Lord can be duped into a self-serving existence on planet earth. Spend some time today with the Lord and ask Him to show you areas where self-serving could be transformed into serving the least, the lost, and the lonely at your doorstep.