19 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
I’m going to post the entire lectionary passage at the beginning of the week from now on so you can see how the lesson goes, but continue discussing only a few verses in the devotional each day. Let me know how this works for you by commenting here or on my FaceBook post or @pastordougolson (Twitter) or email@example.com (email).
Jesus begins a parable that sounds like another rich man – poor man story. In verses 19-21 He mentions the difference in their living conditions, and that Lazarus apparently lives just outside the rich man’s gate. This should give us a clue that the rich man can’t be unaware of Lazarus’s presence or his condition.
Jesus teaches us to be aware of what goes on right outside our gate as well, that we must pay attention to the needs of our brothers and sisters. Sometimes we are more interested in the issues in far off places than in what is happening just down the street. While we must not ignore world issues, we cannot neglect those closest to us.
We have all been gifted differently to care for each other. You have a unique, God-given skill that can benefit those around you. Think about the difference you can make right here, right now.
Loving Lord, we are called to be in ministry to those around us, using Your gifts for the good of all. Help us to see the needs that exist and how we can serve others in Your name. Amen.