Wednesday, March 25
Today’s Reading: Luke 16:19-31
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.
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 Hades, 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.’
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 set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
Today’s parable is that of the rich man and Lazarus, a continuation in this chapter of Jesus teaching about riches. I think it is hard for us, in the midst of this lifetime, to really consider what our life will be like after our earthly chapter here is complete. We are informed by our senses – what we see, hear, taste, smell and touch. By faith God gifts us with the Holy Spirit, a deposit of what will be coming later. These spiritual treasures can appear to be less real than all we experience now, so we are tripped up by our desires for possessions and wealth. That’s what happened to the rich man in this parable.
Did the rich man see Lazarus at his gate? Was Lazarus no more than a statistic, one of many nameless, homeless vagrants littering the streets? Did he presume that someone else would take care of Lazarus, provide medical care, shelter and food? Are we are too quick to let the government worry about undocumented or minimum wage workers, people suffering with mental health or addiction issues, people who have lost jobs due to this coronavirus, or kids who depend on school lunches for their daily nutrition?
God doesn’t expect us to solve all of society’s wrongs, but here was Lazarus at the rich man’s gate. That’s the person God wanted the rich man to care for. In the same way, God places in our path persons whom we may help in some way, if we are willing to look. There is more to this life than being comfortable and acquiring possessions. As you pray about this story, God may bring someone or a group of people to your mind. If so, give God thanks that you are privileged to have the resources to help.
Gracious God, we know that wealth in and of itself is not bad, only how we use it. It can be a catalyst for great good, or we can put on blinders and presume it is solely for our enjoyment. Guide us through our prayers and reading of your Word, to make the connection between this story and our responsibilities here in this lifetime. You are good, Lord, and want us to grow to become more like you. Thank you for the guidance of your Holy Spirit, as we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.