Every night I perform three acts of devotions/study of the word: 1. I read the devotional study for the discipleship course that I am in, 2. I write prayers to God (journaling), and 3. I read the listed verses for my “Bible in a year” study. Last year I would squeeze in time at the end of my day to perform these three acts. This year, I intentionally devote time to study and meet with the Father. On average, my devotional time is about two-three hours every day (mainly because of the amount of time that I spend journaling).
It was in my “Bible in a year” study that I ran across this passage that I want to discuss today.
Open your bibles to Luke 16: 19-31.
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
“Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
Prior to reading that passage, I had no clue what to write for this #MondayMessage, but then God spoke and gave this to me: Greener grass on God’s side.
I do not know about you, but I grew up without money. I grew up eating government cheese and the television my family owned had three channels- ABC, NBC, and CBS. For Christmas and my birthday, my greatest gift was if my mother did not have to work that day. My mother had five children to raise, debt to overcome (that she acquired through the marriage and divorce of father), and she had a limited education. Did I mention that she was not a citizen of this country at this time? She was only a legal resident so life was tough for her and, in turn, very tough for me. Long story short, we were financially poor.
Despite the number on bank statements, my mother was spiritually rich. She taught me of Christ at a young age and she clung to Him as the Lifesaver that He is. When I read this passage, I immediately thought of my past…and the reality that we still are not financially booming. Then and now, God alone has kept us afloat and provided for us. We are able to survive because of His grace and mercy.
But back to the scripture.
This Lazarus was poor and ill. He sat outside of this rich man’s home daily, waiting to see if the man’s dogs would bring scraps to him. As I learned in my bible, back then people ate with their hands. Wealthy people would wipe their hands after a meal with thick bread that they would in turn feed to the dogs. This was the “scraps” that Lazarus was waiting to obtain daily.
One day Lazarus died and the Word says he went on to rest [in Heaven] with Abraham. What is not explicitly mentioned (but is inferred) is that when he died, he was not buried. Then the rich man died and he was buried. However, when the rich man died, he went to hell (Hades). In hell, he saw Lazarus with Abraham and called out to Abraham, asking him to send Lazarus to touch water to cool him. Calmly, Abraham says that his request is not possible and he recalls the life of the rich man versus the life of Lazarus. The rich man, realizing his fate is sealed, asks Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his family to change their ways. The passage ends with Abraham saying that his family has Moses and the prophets and if they will not listen to them, seeing a dead man will not teach them, either.
Here is my message for you all (and me):
Daily, we see the way the “other half” live and we may be inclined to want what they have, thinking that the grass must be greener on their side of life. However, we have to remember that our riches are in Heaven and not on earth. True joy will never be found in money and all that it can buy.
All the riches that this unnamed rich man had could not buy his way into Heaven. Though Lazarus was financially and physically poor, as the scripture says, he was clearly spiritually rich because he did rest with Abraham and the Father.
Live your life the way God calls and commands us to live: with love for Him, love for His children, and love for ourselves. Seek His kingdom first, above all else, and allow Him to guide and direct the rest of your life.