Friday, 27 June 2008

The Rich Man and Lazarus

There was a man who lived in a city who was immensely rich, living in luxury. There was also another man, Lazarus, who was poor and sick.

The rich man had all of the comforts of this life. He dressed in the finest clothes, he lived in a large house and he always had more than enough to eat. While this man had all that his heart could desire, he spared no thought for his spiritual well being. He lived a selfish, unrighteous life.

Lazarus was as different to the rich man as it was possible to be. He had nothing, he dressed in rags, he spent his days lying at the rich mans gate. He was covered in open sores which the dogs would come and lick. He was so hungry that he was longing for the crumbs that fell off the rich man's table. Lazaurs' physical state was not the only way he contrasted with the rich man, Lazarus was a man of God. While the rich man only looked at his life here on earth, Lazarus looked to heaven, to eternal life. While the rich man was serving his appetite, Lazarus was serving God. While the rich man was gorging himself with the food on his table, Lazarus was feeding on the Word of God. While the rich man believed in what he could see, feel and buy, Lazarus had faith in that which is unseen - in God and His promises.

Now it came about that Lazarus died and he was carried away by angels to rest in Abraham's bosom; in paradise. The rich man also died and was buried and found himself in Hades. He was suffering tremendous torment. Through his pain and suffering he saw Lazarus across a great chasm, resting. The rich man pleaded with Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth so he could warn his brothers not to come to this place of torment.

While Lazarus suffered while on earth, he remained faithful to the Lord and in the end received his reward. The rich man chose another path altogether. He just wanted the "here and now". Well, he got what he wanted while he was living, but all he had gained in his life was left behind when he died.

The rich man and Lazarus both had to make decision in their lives. They are the same decision that we have to make on a daily basis. Are we going to live for passing pleasure, for the good time here and now? Or are we going to live I with an eye on eternity. Are we going to live our lives with the recognition that there is an eternal being; God, who seeks us to serve Him?

Jesus told us about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) as a warning for us. There is an eternal reward for those who love the Lord, those who serve Him in spirit and truth. There is the other alternative also.

Which are you choosing in your life? Think about it!

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