Notice the needs

The next reference to money in what I have been calling the “last lectures” of Jesus is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. And it needs to be noted that the rich man did not end up in hell because he was rich and Lazarus did not end up in heaven because he was poor. The rich man ended up in hell for the same reason anyone else does. He did not hear, believe or accept the Word of God, referred to in the text as the teachings of Moses and the prophets.

But the story does say something about his wealth, and about his character. And the specific detail was important enough for Jesus to include. What it tells us is that he ignored the needy man outside his own gate. Lazarus laid at the gate, covered with sores, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. And the story clearly indicates that the rich man, and the rest of us, must care for those near us who are poor.

The emphasis here is on the person outside our own gate. Although we can easily send $10 to a poor child on the other side of the world, we must not neglect the kid next door. We are to care for our family, our church, our neighbors, but also the stranger who gleans in our own field. Charity really does begin at home. And we must not salve our conscience with gifts for those we can not see and neglect the beggar at our gate.

Someone desires the crumbs that fall from our table. We should find them, and feed them.

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