Summary: A sermon about the poor man at the gate of the rich man.
Where's Wally? is a British series of children's puzzle books created by English illustrator Martin Handford. The books consist of a series of detailed double-page spread illustrations depicting dozens or more people doing a variety of amusing things at a given location. Readers are challenged to find a character named Wally hidden in the group.
Wally is identified by his red-and-white-striped shirt, bobble hat, and glasses, but many illustrations contain red herrings involving deceptive use of red-and-white striped objects.
Reading our bible verse this morning it seems that, as Christians, we need to pay immediate, urgent attention to where’s Lazerus?
Lazerus is the focal point of the rich man’s life but he doesn’t realise it and in the end Lazerus defines the rich man’s future for eternity. How easy it must have been to not notice him- to move on to his life in the business world – to attend meetings and go to family dinners?
This story is a serious bible checkpoint that Jesus provides so that we too do not miss Lazerus when he is in fact staring in our face – obvious but not noticed.
In Matthew chapter 25 we find Jesus promoting a very similar message –
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels
So much for once saved always saved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WE are saved by our acceptance of Jesus and by the power of His blood and resurrection – but here we do not find Jesus limiting our Christian walk to a one time commitment. Here we find him expecting his followers to find him in the most unpleasant and unsavoury places. He doesn’t allow us only to celebrate the great compassionate Christians like Jackie Pullinger – Elizabeth Fry – Damian of Hawaii – Francis of Assissi – Heidi Bakker or the classic all time favourite Tereasa of Calcutta. And to be honest I think he goes beyond our families half hearted attempt at compassion by sponsoring a child – in – I am not too sure such is my attention to our sponsored child.
I think what Jesus is saying is very different to all this stuff. Of course we don’t have to preach on this but it is important we, as Christians really comprehend what Jesus is saying so that we do not end up in condemnation on the one hand or on the other self justification.
When Jesus meets with his disciples after his resurrection his opening words are “Peace be with you.”
We want to be in peace but there is a route there that includes the bumpy ride down the road of compassion.
The task for the Christian is not to ask “where’s Wally?” but where is Jesus among the sea of faces that are before me every day.
The story is told of two liberal sociologists who were walking down the street. They saw a man lying unconscious and covered with cuts and bruises from a terrible mugging. One of the sociologists turned to his colleague and said, “Whoever did this terrible deed really needs our help.”
That is objective compassion – but consider this:-
One Sunday evening, William Booth was walking in London with his son, Bramwell, who was then 12 or 13 years old. The father surprised the son by taking him into a saloon! The place was crowded with men and women, many of them bearing on their faces the marks of vice and crime; some were drunk. The fumes of alcohol and tobacco were poisonous. "Willie," Booth said to his son, "These are our people; these are the people I want you to live for and bring to Christ." Years later, Bramwell Booth wrote, "The impression never left me."