“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…’ ”
Luke 16:25 (NIV)
We quickly crossed the car park and I headed into the shop while my husband went to get the trolley. I waited impatiently for him inside. He seemed to be taking forever. Didn’t he realise just how much we had to get done that morning? I finally marched back outside in time to see him smile at a homeless woman and reach down to throw some coins into her container. He grinned as he walked towards me and cheerfully said, ‘I never seem to be able to keep cash. I am always giving it away.’
I am sure he never realised how his words pierced my heart. I was so totally wrapped up in myself and what I needed to get done that I never even saw the woman, let alone thought about helping her. Even though I try, I am often shamed when I see the generosity of others and their constant caring awareness of those less fortunate.
I am reminded of the rich man who was splendidly clothed and lived each day in luxury (Luke 16). We may not think we are particularly wealthy, and we may not classify ourselves as living in luxury but, and if we have enough to eat and a home to live in perhaps others with less would say we are rich.
Do we cross paths with those who are like Lazarus the beggar? He was ‘…covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.’ (vv.20-21). We may not see exactly the same thing when we go about our daily lives but are there people in similar situations who are longing for some of the things we take for granted? I am sure there are.
The rich man in Luke’s story wanted to go back to warn his brothers about their lack of care for those less fortunate but Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ (v.29). He goes on to say, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ (v.31).
It’s a stark warning and I for one am resolving, with God’s help, to do better.
Our loving Father, you see all people and love them. You know what each one needs. Please help us to truly see the people that surround us and bless us with hearts that are moved with compassion, so that we may reach out and help those we can. Thank you for all the blessings of this life. Everything good comes from you and we pray for your return when all will be comforted by you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.