What I’m Thinking: Rich and Poor

Jesus told a story about a rich man and a poor man, and the way their conditions reversed after they died. He had some opinions about poverty.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the sixteenth chapter of Luke (Luke 16:19-31), and it’s a much simpler story than the one we faced last week with the “dishonest manager.” This time the characters are pretty straightforward. You’ve got a rich man and a poor man, and the rich man lived in comfort, and the poor man died in suffering.

Both, in fact, died. The poor man, whom Jesus gives the name of Lazarus, went to the seat of Father Abraham: something like a heaven. And the rich man, well, he went to a place of suffering.

From there, though, he could still see Lazarus and Abraham, and asked if Lazarus might bring him some water to cool his tongue. Well, no, that couldn’t happen. There was a chasm between them.

“Well, could Lazarus go back and say to my brothers that they should change their ways?”

“No, no, that can’t happen either. Besides, they have Moses and the prophets to tell them what they should do.”

“Yes, but if somebody came back from the dead they would believe!”

“No, no,” said Abraham. “If they don’t believe Moses and the prophets they won’t believe somebody coming back from the dead.”

Isn’t that just how it is?

The Scriptures are just filled with all these injunctions for us to care for one another, to build a society in which nobody is left suffering by the doors while others eat their fill in comfort in the houses within. The Scriptures are full of them: the old Scriptures of the Hebrew people, the newer Scriptures of the Christians. And we, in fact, know that somebody died and returned from the dead to reinforce that message.

And to this day, people sleep outdoors while others eat their fill in comfort, even though someone returned from the dead to tell us it should not be so.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on September 23, 2019

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