Read Luke 16:19-31
Eternity is a difficult concept. We tend to live our lives hour to hour, day to day, week to week. Our fragile emotions and sense of belonging all seem to ebb and flow with our present circumstances. Perhaps there is some wisdom in this… “Carpe Diem” or “Seize the Day”! On the other hand, Jesus rarely looks at things this way. He always seems to take an eternal perspective.
Perhaps we should take something from that!
In today’s passage, we see Jesus teaching the disciples, using a parable about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. We only know a few things about Lazarus: he was “covered with sores”, and had received in his lifetime “bad things”. The rich man was “clothed in, “fine linen” and “feasted sumptuously every day.” Upon their mutual death, the rich man ended up in Hell, and Lazarus was comforted in Heaven, next to Abraham. We aren’t told why they ended up this way; we just know there is a chasm that prevents them from crossing . We know the rich man was in anguish and longs to warn his five brothers about his fate.
Sadly, he is unable to do so.
This is Jesus’ eternal perspective. One verse stands out above all the rest. When the rich man begs for mercy, he is told by Abraham:
“Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.”
Let’s personalize that!
Imagine if your loved family member or friend is the rich man! Brothers and sisters, let that move us to action! If we are rich toward others, we will not be obsessed with silently building up our own fiefdoms! People that live to serve others don’t have time for empire-building; they are far too busy meeting the needs of the “least of these”. (Matthew 25:31-46). It is an uncomfortable reality that Jesus repeatedly warns against excessive material wealth (Matthew 19:24). To put our material wealth in perspective…the global median income is around $2100 per year. The vast majority of Americans rest comfortably in the world’s wealthiest 10%. That should make us praise God and should also come with a hearty swallow, once we understand the responsibility we bear as Christ-bearers to a lost and needy world.
Let’s change the narrative; let’s be RICH TOWARD OTHERS! Our material wealth can be an attribute when it is leveraged for the Gospel. How can you use your blessings to invest in God’s Kingdom? Time, treasure, talent… all belong to HIM who saved us from our sin, and all need to be prayerfully and intentionally devoted to godly purposes. If you are not sure where to start, look no further than the many ministries and missions undertaken by Grace Church. Pick one, and let’s go! Let’s live our lives as if we will be judged tomorrow, for all of eternity, based on who we serve today!