Summary: It is not any sin of commission that is pointed at but the sins of omission. We often think of sin as something we do wrong, and it is that. There are many things that we omit to do which is sin in the sight of God.
TITLE: BAD TABLE MANNERS
SCRIPTURE: ST. LUKE 16:19-30
There are portions found in the Gospel according to ST. LUKE that can make an individual very uncomfortable. This is such a passage. It is DESIGNED to discomfort the comfortable. And, strangely enough it comforts those who may be struggling in this life. My focus this morning will be upon the first section of this powerful text. This is a very interesting Parable that most of us are very familiar. It is a Parable that is often ignored or used for evangelistic sermons about the PERMANENCY AND REALITY OF HEAVEN AND HELL. While it does deal with both of those realities – I would suggest to us this morning that the message that Jesus spoke really has less to do with heaven and hell. This parable is part of a TRILOGY:
• Begins with the Prodigal Son wasting his Father’s money
• Transitions to the Dishonest Steward wasting his master’s possessions
• Concludes with our text for examination
There are TWO SECTIONS to the parable – the PICTURE PAINTED of the situation in verses 19-23 – which is where our focus rests - and the DIALOGUE in verses 24-30. There is a misunderstanding that comes and it is that our Lord was condemning the rich man because he was rich. That is to MISS THE WHOLE POINT of this story. He is not being sentenced to Hell because of his STATUS and RICHES. If that be the case we have some great tension to deal with, especially in the Old Testament.
• Job was rich, matter of fact the Bible says he was the greatest of all men in the East
• King David was very wealthy, blessed with Kingdoms
• King Solomon, we know was wealthy
• He asked God for Wisdom and Discernment and God would also bless him with Riches and Wealth
• Father Abraham, we know, was rich: rich in cattle, in herds, silver and gold
• Yet, Abraham is the person to whom Lazarus goes when he dies
• It is not riches but what is done with them
Another thing about this rich man is that we are not told that he did anything OUTWARDLY THAT WAS CRIMINAL apart from how he treated Lazarus. It is not any SIN OF COMMISSION that is pointed at but the SINS OF OMISSION. We often think of sin as something we do wrong, and it is that. However, the Catechism says, "ANY WANT FOR CONFORMITY TO THE WILL OF GOD".
• That is, there are many things that you and I omit to do which is sin in the sight of God
• Often we forget that and we only think of what we have done and not of what we have failed to do
• What is brought home to us here is the great omission in this man's life
So I would suggest to us this morning as we continue to build upon this Message that the Problem with the Rich man was not his wealth – the issue that would eventually condemn him was the fact that he simply had – Bad Table Manners.
• Bible says Rich man clothed in Purple and fine Linen and fared sumptuously every day
• Lazarus was laid at his gate and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table
• The problem was that the rich man piled his money so high on the table that it blocked his view of those in need
• He simply had Bad Table Manners
Nothing disturbs me more than to see children being raised with Bad Table Manners. I see children when parents sit them down at the table to eat and they are – SPINNING AROUND ON CHAIR – UP AND DOWN FROM THE TABLE – SOMETIMES UNDERNEATH THE DINNER TABLE - LEANING BACK IN THE CHAIR. I never would have been allowed to get away with that when I was being raised. You better sit there, sit still and eat your food. We even had to ask to be excused from the table when we were finished with the meal. There is a CERTAIN BEHAVIOR THAT IS EXPECTED when we are blessed to be seated at the table.
There is an expectation placed upon us when we have been invited to take a seat at the Table. There are some RULES OF ETIQUETTE that must be followed. Not everybody has been invited to be able to SIT AT THE TABLE.
• Some eat with TV Trays in front of the television
• Some sit on the sofa with a plate in their lap
• We have an island on the outside of the kitchen with a few chairs sometimes we eat there
• On nice days we can eat on the patio