Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 25th September 2022: Rich and poor

Repentance Luke 16 Rich God Poor

Reading : Verses from Luke, Chapter 16

Lazarus and the rich man

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Today's parable is well known, but it comes with a caution. We should remember that parables usually have a main point, and not all the parts of the story are necessarily important. So let's revisit the story. Firstly the rich man has no name, but the poor man is called Lazarus which means "whom God helps". Older translations of the bible give the wealthy man the name "Dives" which simply means "rich" - so he still has no name. All we know about these two men is that one is extremely rich and one is extremely poor, and although he sees him constantly the rich man ignores the plight of Lazarus.

So does this mean that Jesus is saying we should shun wealth - are only the poor going to heaven? No, this is far too simplistic. He is not condemning the rich, after all most of us in the western world would be condemned if we compared ourselves to those in say the three poorest countries in the world, that is, Burundi, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The theme of this parable is the condemnation of the self-righteous - that is, those who ignore God's call through the prophets and His Son, Jesus, and who live a totally self-centered life. If speaks to us as well when we ignore the constant call to repentance and to living a new way of life.


Lord Jesus Christ,
help us not to put Your
call to repentance on the back burner.
Help us also to place worship of You, first,
and then to change our life
to use our gifts and talents
to care for Your world
and for Your people,

Follow Up Thoughts

If you would like to find out more about the three poorest countries in the world you can look up this site:

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