Summary: Treasure your life and do what matters most. From the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, learn (1)not to love things but share them, (2) treasure opportunties to seek God, and (3) share Christ while we still can.
Accidents can happen anytime. None of us know when the end will come. It can come suddenly and unexpected. The collapse at Nicoll Highway and Ayer Rajah Ave site remind us that life is unpredictable. When we leave our house each morning, we do not know if we’re going to come back that same day. Life is not in our hands.
Jesus once told a story about a rich farmer (Luke 12:16-20), who thought of building bigger barns to store more of his grain, but God said, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" (12:20). He forgot that he is going to leave this world.
Accidents in life cause us to re-look at what is really important. We must treasure every living moment to do what is right and good. We do not know how much time we have left before we meet God. That is why HOW we live today is important.
Let us look at this parable about the rich man and Lazarus. I divide this story into 3 parts.
In the first part, we see the rich man completely engrossed by his wealth. He made the mistake of focusing only on the here-and-now, only for this world. He was preoccupied by things and he died leaving them all behind.
(1) YOU CANNOT SALVAGE THINGS ONCE LIFE IS OVER, SHARE THINGS NOW
Don’t treasure things, but people. Things will pass away. Everything we have will be left behind once life is over.
The rich man “...was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.” (16:19). Not sometimes, but everyday. He takes pride in his wealth. His god is his riches. His only concern was to live in the grandest house, eat the best food, and wear the finest clothing. It’s sad because he invested his whole life on things that are temporal.
No matter how much you’ve earned on earth, you’re going to leave everything behind. So don’t love things, use things. Use what you have to bless others. The Bible teaches to use what we have, what God has given us, for His purposes. To share our things with those in need. To USE things so that others are blessed.
The recent accidents tell us life is fragile but precious. We make every effort to save lives. Life matters, not things. Therefore relationship with people is important. Relationship with our children is important. Relationship with our parents is important. Don’t make the same mistake the rich man made.
God gave this rich man a chance to change - right in front of his house was an obvious need – “20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table….” He was given the chance to move away, from loving things to loving people, from loving this world, to loving the God Lazarus worshipped. But he did not. Not once or twice, but apparently everyday he was given this chance - to give Lazarus a decent meal and proper clothing - but he did not.
If he had, he would have known Lazarus as a friend. He would most likely have known about his God and the life after death. We read in the last part of this parable, that the rich man wished for Lazarus to go to his father’s house and warn his five brothers. Lazarus was at his gate every day and he ignored him. If he paid attention, he would have been saved.
We are blessed today. We may not be very rich, but we have enough to live on. And we’ve come to know the God whom we can trust. Let us share what we have with those in need. In 1 Tim 6:17 Paul tells Timothy to warn the people not to put their hope in wealth but in God, for He is the One “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” And then he said (vv.18-19),
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
The Lord wants us to “store up treasures in heaven” by using what we have here on earth to bless others. When life is over, we will not be able to do so anymore.
John Wesley said, ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.’