Our lesson today comes from the allegorical story found in Luke 16: 19 – 31.
It is important to note that this story was a simple parable, “a short story with a message or lesson”; it was not an actual account. Jesus used it to inculcate a greater truth into the minds of the hearers back then and stimulate our deepest thought and contemplation today. Jesus was not offering his hearers of the parable a glimpse into what the afterlife would be like but he was teaching another type of lesson.
In this parable we observe that there was a rich man who lived a flamboyant and exotic life and outside of his gate, laid a beggar by the name of Lazarus who desired to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. The rich man in his selfish indifference never fed or catered to the needs of the beggar Lazarus.
As time passed, both the rich man and the Lazarus died – the parable states that Lazarus was carried into the Abraham’s bossom and the rich man was sent to hell. While in hell the rich man “being in torment” saw Lazarus “and he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
This parable is pregnant with lessons related to the last days, salvation, stewardship, dependence on God, destiny, choices…but today the lesson we will briefly explore from the parable is centered on sharing the richness of Christ with others.
The rich man in the story represents those who are blessed with a knowledge of God and who have a deep understanding of God’s truth (they are rich in knowledge and gifts) and Lazarus represents those who are in spiritual poverty, they aren’t as well versed in the teachings of Christ as the symbolic Jews (they are poor in knowledge of God and gifts).
As the rich man, many who are given a greater light or who are filled with the knowledge of Christ hoard the truth and do not share it with those who are spiritually poor.
The rich man being truly rich, feasted on God’s spiritual blessing every day, some days even taking advantage of the awesome privilege afforded to Him to know and experience Christ yet this knowledge did not transform him but prompted him to self-righteousness. The rich man glorified in his richness in Christ did not use his riches to bless others.
Many of us who proclaim to be Christians are like the rich man, we are rich in our knowledge of Christ…we can expound on any passage of scripture found in the Holy Bible or doctrine of Christ still we do not share Christ with others.
God has positioned the suffering and needy in our care that they might receive help and sympathy but like the rich man we are so caught up with our own ‘religiousity’ and relationship with Christ that we neglect to impart our help, knowledge and Christ to others so that they too can experience the richness of Jesus.
Ellen G. White in Christ’s Object Lessons says, “Those who selfishly spend the Lord’s gifts on themselves, leaving their needy fellow creatures without aid and doing nothing to advance God’s work in the world, dishonor their Maker.”
How many times have we dishonored Christ by not imparting His light and love to others? How many individuals like the beggar, laying in our lives have we allowed to continue enduring pain and suffering because we have not offered a morsel of hope to them? Have we become comfortable with the richness of Christ’s truths and selfish in whom we share them with?
Too many spiritually poor individuals are dying torturous deaths daily because the individuals whom God has placed in their lives have not looked outside of their own needs to see their hurt and minister to the poverty of their souls.
If we love Christ, we would want every person to experience His love and care; selfishly holding the sweetness of Jesus to ourselves is not God’s ideals for His followers. Let us share Christ with others today, everyone with whom we relate to, spiritually poor and spiritually rich.
Happy Monday – share the love of Christ with someone today – through a word or a deed.
© 2013, Dentrecia Blanchette