Luke 16:19-31, Jesus’ parable is about two completely different people; a rich person whose delight is in self- indulgence and Lazarus, a poor beggar with nothing but faith. The rich man is clothed in both “purple” and “fine linen” which indicates wealth, but also extravagant, conspicuous consumption. He doesn’t have a name, it’s unknown who he is. Lazarus has nothing but sores and his name. In having a name, we understand he has an important role in the parable, his name gives him a human identity.
Since Lazarus was carried by angels to be with Abraham in heaven after death, we are assured that his was a godly life. The rich man goes to Hades, Hell, alone and tormented.
Have you ever been on the outside looking in; maybe looking for shelter, a tank of gas or simply a warm word?
In life, the rich man doesn’t help, torment or even acknowledge Lazarus. The culture of the time would not allow Lazarus to speak with, or touch the rich man, he could only hope the rich man would acknowledge him. The rich man does nothing.
Our gifts of time, talent and treasure we receive gratefully from God who expects us to cherish and tend them in a responsible manner. We are called to give back in gratitude to God, with acts of charity and love, a portion of what he has given us.
The rich man didn’t descend to Hell because he wore a purple robe or fine linen or because he lived in abundance and was well fed. He used his wealth only for himself. For Lazarus, who was in need, he did nothing and that was his sin.
Lazarus was right there, at his gate but he felt no compassion, took no action.
Wonder … How might God see your stewardship?
Pray… Holy God, open my heart and mind. Help me to be a good steward. Amen.
Written by Catherine Gero From The Episcopal Network for Stewardship