Day 208 – That’s Rich!
On: May 27, 2015 | By: SWLadmin
| Under: Blog
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“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 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.’ Luke 16:19-24
What a classic example of: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:16 It’s tempting to feel a bit smug at the rich man’s comeuppance. Until, that is, I start wondering whether I might be like one of the characters in Jesus’s story. For, if I am, it is most surely the rich man. Ah!
Well, actually, no. The rich man was dispatched to hell and I’m bound for heaven, courtesy of Jesus’ saving grace. But I can still behave in a way that is not so dissimilar to the rich man. I may be saved by faith but, as James argued, faith without action is phoney faith:
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. … Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:17,21-22
This is not the place to consider whether there will be different levels of blessing in heaven – Jesus’s disciples were caught arguing that one out in Mark 10:37. But do I want to squeeze into heaven with the minimum likeness to my Saviour? Money, as we saw a couple of days back, is a major barrier to living a Christ-like life: Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:23
How the rich respond to the poor is probably as good a litmus test as any as to how seriously we take our discipleship.
The story continues tomorrow …
Father God, help me to engage with everyone I meet, and not just those who are the same as me. Amen.