Authored by Lou Geense
Read: Luke 16:19-31.
Vs. 19-21 – “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.
Of all the indignities that I saw while serving in Relief and Development for our denomination was to see the extremely poor not just being marginalised but to be ignored by the leaders in their own country. I remember seeing beggars pushed off the side of a street and out of sight by police. Moments later a caravan of luxury cars drove by as the country president returned to his office nearby. This parable that Jesus told came to m y mind as I watched the beggars slowly make their way back to the side of the streets.
Jesus had sympathy for the poor and often rebuked rich people who were selfish and did nothing for the poor. In Jesus’ parable, the poor man Lazarus who died was carried by angels to Abraham’s side in heaven, and the rich man was sent to hell, where he was in torment.
The rich man had lived for his own pleasure and had ignored the message of Moses and the Prophets. Lazarus had had no comfort in life, but in death he received the blessings of life with God in heaven.
Many of the hymns of the American black slaves in the southern states were messages of hope and ultimate vindication by Almighty God for the injustices they endured as slaves. One of their spiritual songs speaks of God as the “Rock of my soul” in “the bosom of Abraham”— an expression referring to “Abraham’s side.”
In Jesus’ parable, the rich man’s sin was not that he was rich; it was that he refused to care for a person in need. His stony heart ignored the call to share food with the hungry and to provide shelter and clothing for people in need (Isaiah 58:7).
I pray that I will never be so blind that I do not see the pain and suffering of others. The truth is that the majority of us who live in Canada live in an affluence that we seldom recognize.
Our heavenly Father, instill in me your heart of compassion and lead me to do some good with the earthly treasures you have given me. In the name of the One who has compassion on us, Amen.