Lazarus and the Rich Man
We have heard so much over the years about Social Justice. A big part of this is the divide between the rich and the poor. But being children of the Most High, we want to hear from God’s Word regarding this subject. As always we want to live by God’s Word and not by man’s opinion, because God’s ways are not our ways. We know that we must have justice for all and to do that we must follow God’s Word to achieve this.
So let’s take a look at Luke 16:19-31 and ask ourselves this question, “Who is to be considered rich?”
“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, enjoying himself in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed from the scraps which fell from the rich man’s table; not only that, the dogs also were coming and licking his sores. Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s arms; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he raised his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his arms. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set, so that those who want to go over from here to you will not be able, nor will any people cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I request of you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not come to this place of torment as well.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
So often you hear people say, “ If only I was rich”, “ If I had money I would do this and that with it.” It is always easier to be generous when you are wishing for the money to do so.
Let’s look at several Scriptures.
Luke 21:1-4 says, “Now He looked up and saw the wealthy putting their gifts into the temple treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two mites. And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all contributed to the offering from their surplus; but she, from her poverty, put in all that she had to live on.”
1John 3:16-17, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters. But whoever has worldly goods and sees his brother or sister in need, and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God remain in him?”
James 2:14-16, “What use is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?”
Matthew 25:34-40 tells us this,
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’
Isaiah 58:6-8, “Is this not the fast that I choose: To release the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the ropes of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free,
and break every yoke? Is it not to break your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn,
and your recovery will spring up quickly; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”
Did we read anywhere in these Scriptures that you needed to have a yearly salary of $$$$$ to be rich? No! It was about meeting the needs of those who you see from day to day who are in need of one thing or another. Yes! It may mean that you have to go without something so that you can meet the needs of the one who is struggling.
God had some harsh words for those who saw but turned their heads. Let’s continue in Matthew 25:41-46 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Now you may say that these are really harsh words but then you must consider the harshness of neglect. When we choose not to relieve someone’s sufferings that too, in God’s eyes, is harsh.
Micah 6: 6-8 sums it all up. “With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the Lord take pleasure in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give Him my firstborn for my wrongdoings, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, mortal one, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you: but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
When we follow God’s ways it becomes easy to live a life of godliness. Everyone of us are rich who know the Lord and what He requires of us, is to extend a hand where a hand is needed. That is justice, that is love. It is better to give than to receive as Paul tells us in Acts 20:35, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Yeshua, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Everyone is rich one way or another. We all have gifts and abilities that we can share with others. Everyone we come in contact with should be left with something that we have given them to make a difference in their lives.