Feasting and Trusting

Today’s sermon in church was great. It was about the rich guy and poor Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.  And he called out,‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘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.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’  And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—  for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’  But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’  He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

So this story is not about what we think it is. It sounds like it’s telling us about heaven and hell and all that but really Jesus is speaking to us about status.

On earth, one guy feasted and the other guy was starving. One was clothed in pride, the other in humility. The story is saying that death destroys status. The rich man only wanted Lazarus at his “table”, so to speak, because Lazarus could cool his tongue. He only wanted Lazarus’s friendship because of what Lazarus could do for him. But Jesus didn’t say “Invite people that can repay you.” Jesus told us to befriend and invite those who CANNOT repay us and WILL NOT repay us.

We are dependent on Him for our spiritual hunger. To be hungry is to live a life fully trusting God; living dependently rather than independently. The point of the parable is total dependence. You see, the poor man was depending on God for his life, while the rich man thought he was independent. His independence blinded him to his responsibility to care for others.

Now here’s a question for myself: Do I practice radical generosity? Life in God’s kingdom is defined by radical generosity. If I’m not practicing it, there is something wrong.

Lord, help me to follow your way.

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