Lenten Bible Study – Day 33

Saturday, March 27, 2021 – Day 33
Luke 16: 19-31
19 ‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” 25But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” 27He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” 29Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” 30He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” 31He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” ’
Rich people do not fair well when Jesus speaks of them in Luke’s Gospel. Woe to them, Jesus says. They are fools for building big barns to keep all their stuff that they will not need. They will never follow Jesus because they have many things. Their idols are their wealth and possessions. And they do not want to share. When they die, these things that gave them comfort are gone and there is no comfort to be had. That is the rich man in this parable. Unimaginably wealthier than the poor sick Lazarus, yet he does nothing for Lazarus. At death the roles are reversed. It is the rich man who craves just a finger of water, but Lazarus because both are now dead, can do nothing. He wants to warn is brothers, but that warning must come from the Hebrew Scriptures.
This reminds me of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Marley and his fellow ghosts are condemned to drag the implements of their wealth around for eternity. There is no rest. There is no end to the torment. But then there is this: they finally feel empathy for those they ignored in life, but now, because they are dead, can do nothing to help those they now want to help. That is the rich man’s fate. He is burdened and can do nothing.
What does it have to do with us? We are Scrooge. We are given this story by Jesus and can learn from it. What do we learn? That we are to care for those who need it. The hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, the oppressed. If we do, we do so to Jesus and are welcomed into the Kingdom of God. Jesus knows that no one can take care of all of the world’s Lazaruses, but if we take care of one, in some way, we take care of all. Who are you caring for this Lent? Something worth considering this Lent.
Dear God, help me to serve and give to those who are in need. Help me not to judge who is worthy of my service and resources, but to give as I feel called by you to do. You gave the full measure of service to us on the cross. Help me to do my part as well. Amen.