The Rich Man and Lazarus

“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 Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called 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. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ (Luke 16:19-26)

We see two very different men in this parable. One is very rich and one is extremely poor. I was struck by the location of the poor man. He was at the gate of the rich man. He was hoping for a bit of mercy and care on behalf of the rich man. It says that he even longed to eat the food that fell on his floor. Though he received no help or care. The rich man actually had the power to change this poor man’s life if he truly wanted to. Scripture teaches us to have compassion on the poor. Proverbs 22:9 tells us, “A generous man will himself be blessed for he shares his food with the poor.” We are called to share what God has so richly blessed us with.

In Matthew 25:35-36 reminds us, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.. I was sick and you looked after me.” We find out in this passage when we show love and mercy to the poor, we are actually doing it unto Christ! Isn’t that beautiful! If you are a believer, then you are known by the good fruits that you bear.

We also see in this passage the stark reality of heaven and hell. In heaven you will be comforted and have your needs met. In hell, you will be filled with eternal suffering and separation from God.

This section of this passage reminds us to care for those who are in need while they are still on this earth. What do you and I have that could be shared with someone in need? How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world around us? You are the light of the world! “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14,16)