Summary: The Parable of Dives and Lazarus

NR 26-09-04

Lk 16:19-31 Dives and Lazarus

Story: A little girl was standing outside her Sunday School classroom when the pastor - a liberal theologian - noticed she was holding a big storybook entitled, “Jonah and the Whale.”

The pastor wanted to have some fun with her so he asked her, “Do you really believe that Jonah was swallowed by a whale?” The little girl frowned –as little girls can and answered, “Of course I do!”

The pastor pushed her a bit further and said, “Do you really believe that a man can be swallowed by a big whale, stay inside for three days and then come out and still be alive?”

The little girl said, “Absolutely. The story is in the Bible and we studied it in Sunday School today.”

Then the pastor asked, “Can you prove to me that the story is true?”

She thought for a moment and then said, “Well, when I get to Heaven, I’ll ask Jonah.”

The pastor went on, “Well, what if Jonah’s not in Heaven?”

She then put her hands on her little hips and looked at him sternly and replied “Then you can ask him!”

Today’s parable speaks of the afterlife – and Jesus clearly challenges us with the question: “Where will we spend eternity.”

It is one of the few explicit passages that talks about heaven and hell – and the finality of the choice that we make on this earth.

The Book of Hebrews is also explicit about the finality of our choice:

27Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

The Bible has no truck with re-incarnation however comfortable that doctrine might be.

Once this life is over in this world, we will live by the decisions we made in this life

None of us know when the end is. We do not have privy to how much time we have left before we meet God.

That is why how we live our life is so important.

Prov. 27:1 reminds us Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

There are two valuable lessons to be learned from the Parable of Dives (the name simply means rich man in Latin) and Lazarus not just about the future – in heaven or hell but about the present!

1. The first lesson is thi: We can be so busy with our wealth that we don’t hear the Lord speaking to us – crying out to us to help!

Story: A young and successful executive was travelling down a road in a poor neighbourhood going a bit too fast in his new Jag.

He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.

As his car passed one set of parked cars, a brick smashed into the side of the Jag!

He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.

The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting,

“What was this all about and who are you? Just what do you think you are doing? That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?”

The young boy was apologetic. “I’m sorry but I didn’t know what else to do. I threw the brick because no one would stop.”

With tears dripping down his face, the child pointed to a spot just around a parked car.

“It’s my brother,” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.”

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned motorist, “Would you please help me get him back into his

wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.”

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat.

He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts.

A quick look told him everything was going to be okay

“Thank you and may God bless you,” the grateful child told the stranger.

Too shaken up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the road towards their home.

It was a long, slow walk back to the Jag. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door.

He kept the dent there to remind him of this message “Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!”

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