The rich man and Lazarus…
“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. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 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. 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.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 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 16:19-31
He was rich; Lazarus was not.
He lived in a beautiful home. Lazarus lived on the streets.
The rich man had lovely clothes, rich luxurious fabrics, plenty to eat, a life that the world longed for. He had health, wealth, and prosperity. His life was a dream. Probably the entire city knew his name, took notice, and envied his position.
Lazarus spent his days in hunger. He begged, pleaded for a scrap of food from the rich man’s table. His clothes were rags, the worn-out cast offs from some unknown benefactor. He was ill and covered in sores. His life was a nightmare. There were perhaps a few who pitied his position, but most probably didn’t even notice. It was likely that very few even knew his name. He was simply a blight on the otherwise manicured lawn of the rich man.
The two were worlds apart, separated by a great social chasm. No, two people could have been more different, except for one thing.
Death called for both.
Ah yes, death, the great equalizer.
But even in death they were worlds apart, separated by a great eternal chasm. Lazarus went to a place of comfort, rest, ease, and peace, a place of plenty and beauty and no more suffering. At his side stood the great prophet, Abraham. Since the time that Jesus shared their story, the world has known Lazarus’ name.
The rich man’s name was lost to oblivion. He went to a place of torment, agony, and thirst. He became the beggar, pleading for a drop of water, just a drop, just a scrap from the abundance that he could see on the other side of the chasm. He begged for someone to go and warn his brothers. Abraham answered with the fact that Moses and the prophets already had. The brothers had probably wasted no time, moving into the rich man’s palatial estate, drinking his wine, eating his imported caviar, and as blatantly oblivious to their future fate as had been the rich man. Abraham added that even if someone were to rise from the dead, they would not take notice.
And indeed, throughout the last two thousand years how many, like the rich man, have lived their lives in willful ignorance of the fact that One did rise from the dead to make a way of escape?
So, let us learn an important lesson. Life is not about possessions or the accumulation of wealth, or good health, or gorgeous fashions, or the prosperity of the rich and famous. Life is about knowing the One who can give us eternal life.
No matter what our position here, death will eventually come. Where will we spend our eternity?