Summary: This is part of a series of very brief messages that can be used in church newsletters for stewardship.
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.” ’ (Luke 16: 19-31; NRSV)
In this parable, Jesus tells of a rich man who did not have a heart for giving of his resources or himself. He had ample opportunity to give out his abundance to Lazarus, but seemed more interested in feeding his own hunger than Lazarus’ hunger. Eschatological images aside, this parable teaches us that when we fail to deposit what we have and who we are into the lives of others, then we can expect nothing in return. As we close out this year of giving our resources and ourselves to Christ, we encourage you ask Christ to rekindle the spirit of giving in your heart and to give you a heart that is sensitive to the needs of the people whom we serve.