257 - The Rich Man and Lazarus
SEPTEMBER 14- Nº 257 Luke 16:19-31
The Pharisees had just interrupted a teaching session that Jesus was having with his disciples. They sneered at what he said about not being able to serve both God and money (see #256 - September 13). They thought they could do both. As a matter of fact, they taught that the people God loved He blessed with good health and good things. If someone was sick or poor, it was due to their sin. The Pharisees’ money had actually become one of their gods. It was in this setting that Jesus told another parable. It was about a rich man who dressed in wonderful clothes and lived a luxurious lifestyle. There was also a poor man named Lazarus who was laid at the rich man’s gate every day to beg. Lazarus was covered with sores. They were so bad that dogs sometimes came and licked them. And he was so hungry that he longed to eat even the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Lazarus became very sick, and he died. The angels carried him to heaven and set him down next to Abraham. The rich man also died, but he went to hell where he was in constant misery. From his place in hell, the rich man could see Abraham far away—and there was Lazarus by his side. The rich man called out to Abraham, “Father Abraham, have pity on me. Please send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in some cool water to put on my tongue. I am in agony in this fire!” But Abraham replied, “Do you remember how you enjoyed so many good things while you were on earth? Meanwhile Lazarus lived in misery just outside your gate. Now he lives in comfort, and you are the one in pain. And it is too late to change that. It is impossible for us to get to you or for you to get to us. There is a huge chasm that cannot be crossed.” The rich man called back to Abraham, “Then I beg you to please send Lazarus to my father’s house with a warning about this horrible place. I have five brothers and I don’t want any of them to go through such torment.” “But they have already been warned,” Abraham replied. “They have the writings of Moses and the Prophets. They can listen to them.” “No, father Abraham,” he yelled back. “They won’t listen to them. But if someone goes from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham replied, “If they will not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” We are not told how the Pharisees responded, but no doubt this parable upset them. Jesus had just implied that they were going to hell and that the social outcasts they ignored would be in heaven with Abraham and the Prophets. Jesus was right—they refused to believe even when someone did rise from the dead (see 259)!
Living the way God wants us to live does not mean we must live in poverty. But it does mean we must be willing to use our wealth for His purposes.
Money must never become a god we serve. It must always be a gift we use to serve God!