September 28

Luke 16:19-26

“But 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.’” vs. 25

This familiar story paints a stark contrast between the fate of the rich and the poor after death and satisfies a basic human desire for ultimate justice. We are reminded that both the rich and the poor will die, but then comes the great reversal: the poor will go to Abraham’s bosom, a place of comfort, while the rich go to Hades to be tortured in the flames. It’s unlikely that Jesus intended this as an actual description of the afterlife–the images were familiar to the disciples and Jesus used them to tell a powerful and evocative story. The problem is that in our day few people believe the point that Jesus is making. We just don’t believe that the rich are punished and the poor rewarded when they die! The story does however point to an important truth that we can well take to heart. Lazarus in this life was not noticed–he was just a nondescript part of the landscape–but he had a name! And God loved him! Ironically the rich man had no name–he was just another anonymous guy living the good life and ignoring the needy. There’s a bunch of such folks in our congregations–maybe it’s time we open our eyes to the beloved children of God who need both a hand up and a hand out. Maybe we could even take some time to learn their names!

Thought for the Day: Why did Jesus seem to favor the poor?

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