Summary: Examine the blessings that one has been given and look to whom you live most like, the rich man or Lazarus.
Which One Are You
Introduction: Luke records the account of the rich man and Lazarus. One point of this account that one should see is that eternity has but only two choices; heaven or hell. There are many truths that can be drawn from this account. However, one thing is sure that there is eternity which faces all after this life. It is the only account of which we see one speaking beyond the grave from hell. I want to stress that the emphasis of this account is that after life on this earth there is an eternity and the choices one makes determines where one will spend eternity.
There is something more that I want to look at here. I want to clarify somethings before we go deeper in to this passage. Having wealth does not make one a sinner anymore than being poor makes one godly. It is the acceptance of Jesus Christ for remission of sin that makes the difference in one’s spiritual person. It is not about what you have or what you lack that makes you closer to God. However, what you have can draw you farther from Him! It is not a sin to want better in this life or better for your children but I am afraid that one can become so blinded by the American dream that we forget the purpose for why we are here. We forget that it is God that gives good things to His children and that we should reciprocate that to others.
With this said I want us to examine our hearts. Who are we? One author posed this question to his readers, “who do you identify most with in this story?”1 Don’t misunderstand me I am not condemning anyone to hell, I want us to focus on the portion of the story when both of these men were alive. I want us to see the mission behind the account. Most of us rode to church today in an automobile. No one here had to beg to get their breakfast this morning! So, which person from this parable are we most like in the socioeconomic state of life. What do we do with what we have been given? I pray that we are convicted in the way that we live our lives daily. There are some points here I want us to look at and take to heart. This is not a message of condemnation but rather one of soul searching.
Before I look to the scripture, let me point out that both types of these people are in the world today. Both types are in the church today as well. Extreme poverty around the globe is defined by the World Bank and defined as those living on $1.25 or less a day. There are 1.4 billion people or about 21% of the world’s population living at this level or below across the world.This measure of course doesn’t look at poverty as defined by developed countries. For example, according to 2000 U.S. Census, 12% of Americans are living in poverty.(Read more: http://wiki.answers.com) From this figure the evidence shows that 12 out of everyone 100 Americans is at poverty level while 1 of every 5 from every other person in the rest of the world. We have an obligation to our community and the world around us. We are a blessed people! But let’s not let our blessing become our blindness to others.
1 David Platt, Radical, Multnomah: Colorado Springs, 2010, p. 114.
The Rich Man
There is not a lot of background about this man. We do not know where he is from, who his family was, or his proper name. He is described in this parable as the rich man.
He was clothed in purple and fine linen. Purple clothes were extremely expensive because they were made with a special dye from a type of snail.2
He lived in luxury everyday, the Bible states that he fared sumptuously everyday (NKJV).
He had all that he needed and in his lifetime received good things.
He found security in the things that he had. You may ask how do you know that? It is obvious from the way in which he used them and held them in esteem and his greed is displayed in the way he utilized his wealth.
Then there was.....
Lazarus was a poor man, a beggar. He was not a person that most would invite to dinner or would want to associate with. His only companions that we see in this parable are the dogs that licked his sores. However, these dogs were not there for companionship only they too were searching for something to eat.
The dogs lick his wounds. This was not as much of a soothing agent to him as it was a detriment. The dogs licking him made him susceptible to infection and disease.