THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
TEXT: LUKE 16:19-31; 1TIMOTHY 6: 6-19
MEMORY VERSE: 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. Luke 16:25
Rich but Not Saved
In this country, many individuals want to be rich. God does not say that having money, a beautiful home, and plenty of good food is a sin, but He does say that it is a sin to love that money, that home, and all that we have more than to love Him. He tells us to love Him more than anything or anyone else. And more than anything, we should love Him because He is stronger, kinder, more caring than anyone else could possibly be. In order to save us, Jesus loved us so much that He died on the cruel cross.
We read in the Bible that God was really generous to a rich man. God sent the sunshine and rain that helped the crops of this man to grow. A man might have made a lot of money buying and selling cows or pigs, maize, wheat, or many other things, but he would have had none of these things without God’s help. No grass would have grown without the rain and the sunshine; the cattle would have had no green pasture. He would not have had to feed them with grass, hay, or corn. He had been helped by God to get everything he owns. The Bible makes us understand that he was a wealthy man and that he had lots of good food to eat, but it does not tell us that he loved God. Maybe he loved his money so much that he had forgotten that it was God who gave it to him. We know that he did not love God, for he did not go to be with Jesus when he died.
Poor but saved
The Bible tells us about another man called Lazarus, who was sick and very weak. He was deposited at the gate of this rich man. Perhaps he was laid down there so that as they passed by, the rich man or his rich friends could give him some money. He wished he could eat the crumbs that had fallen off the rich man’s table. Perhaps many rich men had just passed by this poor man, who had been covered with sores, and gave him nothing.
Something happened someday. This poor beggar died, and he was carried up to Heaven by the angels to be with God. Abraham and all those who loved God were with him. He had no more sores. Now he was completely fine. Now, Lazarus was not a beggar; he was given celestial garments to wear. He no longer wanted crumbs from the table of a rich man; he had the divine food that God had promised him. He did not have to lie at the gate of a rich man; he lived in a lovely heavenly house.
Death of The Rich Man
The wicked wealthy man also died and was buried. As they had borne the poor beggar, we are not told that the angels carried him to Heaven. This rich man didn’t like the place he was. He looked far over to Heaven, and there he saw Lazarus, once a poor beggar, but now comfortable with Abraham, far away. We wonder how he could have been known by a rich man because he was so changed. He wasn’t like a sad, sick beggar lying at the gate. 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. (Luke 16:24).
In that spot, he was really unhappy. He wasn’t even able to get a cool drink of water there. He was punished for not loving God in his lifetime.
Then Abraham told the rich man that he had many good things to do while living on earth. He may have said to him, “Don’t you remember how kind God was to you when you lived on earth, but you either forgot or didn’t want to thank God and love Him for all His goodness to you? You note that Lazarus had very little; that he was riddled with sores, but he loved God, and he was grateful for the little bit he had. Now you’re sorry that you’re in such a bad spot, and you know the cause, too, but Lazarus has all the good stuff, and he’s really happy in Heaven with God and Jesus and the angels. He’s always going to be there and always be happy.”
Abraham said it was difficult for someone to go from Heaven to earth and from hell to Heaven [Luke 16:26]. Then, the rich man asked Abraham to give Lazarus to his father’s house and his five brothers. Without a doubt, he wanted Lazarus to tell them not to forget to obey God and not to forget to thank God for anything. He tried to save them. He didn’t want his brothers to come to the wrong place, either. Abraham told him that it wasn’t good to send someone to speak to his brothers because they wouldn’t believe what they were told. He said they had a book written by Moses and the other good men, and if they had read it, believed it, and obeyed it, and they wouldn’t have had to go to the wrong place.
How grateful we are to God that we have the Bible that tells us how Jesus died for us so that we can believe in Him and follow Him and go to the beautiful heavens, and be happy with God and with Jesus forever. If we love Jesus and do the good things that He tells us to do, we will be someday in the same beautiful place where Lazarus is. Think how nice it is to have such a lovely house to live in where there is nothing to make us ill, nothing to make us cry, nothing to take our Christian father and mother away from us. Here we will hear the music of the angels, sing the glorious songs of Heaven, and praise God for all His goodness towards us forever. Let us not fail to be grateful every day that we live here.
Thank you for all your blessings. Thank you for the words of the Bible. Enable us to remember that even though things are distracting, you first in our lives. Amen