Today is part two of two related parables. In reading this parable, I want to caution you that Jesus was not saying that it is evil to be rich. His point reaches further into the heart and is warning people that money will not get you to heaven. Yesterday, in our reading, Jesus said in Luke 16:15, “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Jesus warned us yesterday that money becomes a god to us when we find ourselves serving it. When money becomes a factor in our decision making process and not what God would have us do; it has become our god. It is detestable because of the value we place on it.
Today, we read about a rich man who lived in luxury every day and about a beggar named Lazarus who was covered in sores and starving. The rich man went to hell and was tortured, and Lazarus went to heaven and was comforted. The rich man didn’t go to hell because he was rich; neither did Lazarus go to heaven because he was poor. It was a heart issue. I want to point out that in the parable; the rich man did nothing to help Lazarus. He was satisfied with the luxurious life that he was living and chose to be blind to the needs around him.
I have started reading a book called When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. I am only a few chapters into the book, but I feel that every Christian should read this book and allow God to challenge them on the subject of poverty. We Christians, for too long have ignored the issues behind poverty and instead have been rather judgmental towards people living in poverty. The authors point out that they have seen a dramatic change in attitude among Evangelical Christians, but we still have a long way to go. The following scriptures are mentioned in the book, and I want to pass them on to you because they go well with what I am writing about today. I will not type them out due to their length. Please look these up: Isaiah 1:10-13, 16b-17 and Isaiah 58:1-3, 5-10. When I studied Nehemiah in November, I wrote about Nehemiah 5 where he helped Israel heal by helping the poor. Micah 6:8 tells us that obedience to God requires us to love mercy. We see in Deuteronomy 15:4, 7-8 that God didn’t want His people to have anyone in need.
This is our call. God has given us different gifts, but we have all been called to love mercy and help those who are in need. Our hearts should change and reflect the mercy that God showed us when Jesus sacrificed for us. When we love our money, we have a difficult time showing mercy. I hope you are as convicted as I am! It is time for action. Please read When Helping Hurts because they don’t just encourage us to help; they show us how to help with the shrewdness that Jesus encouraged yesterday. We need to seek God’s wisdom on how we can best help poverty.
Do you see the needs around you? Do you love mercy?