“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 manʼs table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abrahamʼs 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 Jesus tells this story-a parable (story about ordinary people doing ordinary things, but with a message that has eternal significance) about a very rich man and a very poor man named Lazarus .
The Rich Man enjoyed his wealth on a daily basis. He had great food, nice clothes and anything else a 1st-century guy could want. At the gate of his walk-way leading to his big house laid Lazarus. He was so emaciated and sick that he was covered with sores that the wild dogs would overwhelm him and lick.
Every day, Lazarus would lie at the rich man’s gate, hoping to be pitied and fed, but willing to eat out of the trash that the rich man’s household produced. Day after day this went on: the rich man would prosper as Lazarus gradually grew weaker.
Eventually both men died. Lazarus was welcomed into paradise with Father Abraham, while the Rich Man went to Hades. Much like on earth, only with the tables turned, Lazarus was afforded every comfort imaginable, while the Rich Man was in torment. Through his torment though, the Rich Man could observe Lazarus’ comforts and could communicate with Abraham. He asks for Lazarus to bring him a drop of water, to which Abraham declined, sighting a vast chasm that separated them. He then asks for Abraham himself return to warn his 5 brothers of their impending fate to which Abraham also declined, sighting that they have the Law and prophets like everyone else and that seeing someone from the dead wouldn’t turn them.
Here’s Jesus’ point . . . EVERYDAY, the Rich Man could have allowed God to soften his heart, helped Lazerus, and BOTH men’s endings would be different!
ALL of us were made for eternity (Eccl. 3:11), but sin and death have limited what our physical bodies can now do (Gen 3:3-5). God’s original plan was for all to live in paradise forever, free from sin, death, pain, sickness, opposition, anxiety, depression or anything that causes these things! NOW, the eternal part of us is still intact, but our bodies eventually fail physically, but here’s the point: EVERYDAY the Rich Man could have chosen to live for eternity, yet everyday, he chose to live for the moment, only to please himself. EVERYDAY we can choose to do the same!
God calls each of us to live our lives for HIS glory and to minister to the hurting world around us. Should we chose to obey Him, He will reward us eternally-should we choose to ignore Him, the punishment for sin that Jesus has ALREADY PAID for us on the cross will again become ours.
Think about it!