Summary: A sermon about the haves and the have not's.

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“The Hollow Life”

Luke 16:19-31

A famous rich person said the following at a college commencement:

“A couple of years ago I found out what ‘you can’t take it with you’ means.

I found out while I was lying in the ditch at the side of a country road, covered in mud and blood…

…I had a MasterCard in my wallet, but when you’re lying in a ditch with broken glass in your hair, no one accepts MasterCard.

In the months that followed, I got a painful but extremely valuable look at life.

We come in naked and broke.

Warren Buffett? Going out broke.

Bill Gates? Going out broke.

Tom Hanks? Going out broke.

Me? Broke. Not a crying dime.

Should you give away what you have?

Of course you should.

I want you to consider making your lives one long gift to others, and why not?”

That is powerful.

Let’s all make our lives one long gift to others.

Why not?

It truly is the only way to happiness.

It is the only way to really be following Jesus.

Are we doing this?

Are we on our way to doing this?

Do we want to do this?

Jesus is very clear about what to do with our possessions and money.

If our possessions rule us, that’s where our treasure is…

…that’s where our heart is.

As Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and money.”

This is a hard teaching, though, isn’t it?

Even if we are not wealthy, oftentimes, our pursuit of wealth takes first place over our concern for other people and for God.

But if we put our trust in God first, we will be freed to give what we don’t need away in order to help others.

Trusting in God is the only cure for greed and selfishness.

Jesus’ parable for this morning is apt to make a lot of us uncomfortable…

…and if it doesn’t make us uncomfortable…

…we are either just like Lazarus laying outside of a rich man’s gate or we have hardened our heart to such a degree that we don’t care at all.

Not long ago I was standing with some people having a conversation.

I don’t remember many of the details, but I do remember that the subject of the “haves” and the “have nots” came up.

One of the people standing in the group is in charge of one of the largest companies in the entire world.

He makes millions.

In any event, someone—maybe it was me—I honestly can’t remember—said something to the effect that there is a huge divide between the super-rich and everyone else.

The mega-executive’s exact words were “as it should be, as it should be.”

This is how it is in Jesus’ parable for this morning…

…or at least this is how it is between Lazarus and the rich man.

There is no comparing their situations in life.

The only thing they have in common is that they are human beings.

They both came into this world naked and broke and that is the way both will leave.

In the meantime, the rich man lives in luxury every day.

He dresses himself in the most expensive cloths possible.

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