Scripture: Luke 16:19 (Jesus said) “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony…
Observation: Jesus tells a very surprising parable. A rich man ended up in Hades while a poor beggar ended up alongside Abraham and the angels of heaven. In Jesus’ day, a rich man would have been assumed to have been rich as a reward for his righteousness before God. Conversely, a poor beggar would have assumed to have been poor as punishment for sin. Why did the rich guy end up living in torment? Because he failed to have mercy on the poor beggar when he had the chance.
Application: Yesterday I wrote that I was looking for ways the Lord might give me to help someone in need. Well, sure enough, yesterday afternoon a man came by the church asking for help. He told me a rather elaborate story saying he was recently released from prison and struggling to make ends meet. He asked me for some modest assistance to help him get back on his feet. Was this man telling the truth or did he just make up a hard-luck story? It’s hard to know. But I do know that the Lord has blessed me and the church I lead with all the resources we need, and even a bit more. So, with resources from the church and from my own pocket, I gave what he asked for. It was a modest amount, nothing that will make a material difference to me or the church. But it meant a lot to this man, down on his luck. And it most certainly brightened my day.
Prayer: Lord, you have been so good to me and to many of those who read this blog. Give us hearts of compassion for those who are down on their luck. Inspire in us a generous spirit, embracing your abundance for the sake of others. Amen.