Read: Luke 16:19-31
It seems fitting that we should study this passage during the week that follows Easter. How many heard the message of the resurrection? Have we built relationships with those far from Christ to the point that they are open to hearing this incredible news?
Jesus paints two portraits. The first is a rich man, steeped with the wealth of the world with no worries. I often refer to this as the BMW driver. All the bills are paid and there is plenty of excess to cover all earthly desires. You can have anything you want if you just work hard and believe in yourself. This is the rich man.
The poor man is truly poor in this picture. Like many who are homeless or simply without means to support themselves, they know they are poor, they are fully aware of their present state.
The rich man knows the poor man. He knows his name and yet, obviously, does nothing to help. We aren’t given details, but I suspect when Jesus told the story, many people were nodding in agreement that they would not associate with the beggar, let alone do something to help.
Then comes the twist. They both die and eternity awaits. We read about the roles of earth being reversed: the rich in hell and the poor in heaven. The rich man still treats Lazarus like a servant and begs for favor, but this is where the story become harsh. There will come a time when we will face a reality we seem to avoid as much as possible.
My heart is heavy as I read this passage. Part of the weight could be a Francis Chan snippet I watched yesterday where he simply kept pointing to the challenging words of Jesus on the subject of salvation, an exhortation to read the Bible to hear from God, and the consequence for those who do not heed the call.
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:31
Even if someone rises from the dead. Wow. The conversation comes to an end in the parable. The angel refuses to send any special envoy to the rich man’s family. What they have in front of them is sufficient. We don’t preach this parable because it’s seriously tough to take. There will come a time when the line will be drawn — for eternity.
Eternity is a long time. It’s impossible to measure in human terms, with a clock or sundial. Honestly, I really can’t get my mind around the notion except to say I believe we are eternal beings temporarily bound in human flesh.
If this is the case, and I hope you agree that it is true, we have an incredibly important purpose in the short number of years we get to spin around the sun. We need to be in the business of saving souls.
I get it, only Jesus can save. I’m not for a moment suggesting I can save anyone, but I can be the ultimate connections pastor and point people to the best eternal solution in Christ. It’s always their decision, but do they hear the question?
In this parable, Jesus attempts to help us understand the seriousness of the call.
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 16:26
We will all die some day. There is no escape. But there is an eternal solution that needs to be shared with the world in a serious and meaningful way.
Lord, help me see eternity in each person I meet. May I be a light that shines on your path, that guides the poor in spirit and helps the poor in wealth. Both. Your love is greater than life. Your love is strong.