It is easy during the holidays to feel the financial pinch. With so many extra expenses, from buying presents to decorating to family activities and travel, we may be tempted to believe that more money would mean more Christmas cheer. But money is not the answer to happiness.
Luke 16 begins a lengthy section of Jesus’ teachings on the use of resources. Today’s parable is unique to Luke and is the only one to include a named character. Fittingly, the name Lazarus is from Eleazar (“God helps”). In contrast, the “rich man” is not named. He represents all those who idolize wealth.
The rich man wore purple (the color of wealth) and fine linen; he lived luxuriously. Lazarus—a beggar— laid at his gate, likely crippled. Lazarus was covered with sores and was starving. He was so helpless that the dogs licked his wounds, which made him unclean.
Then, in an instant, the tables turned. The beggar died and was escorted by angels, like royalty, to Abraham’s side. The rich man was banished to hell and torment. It may amaze you that the rich man still saw Lazarus as inferior. He believed he could manipulate the situation and begged Abraham to send Lazarus to serve him. But Abraham refused. The good things that the rich man had enjoyed were now given to Lazarus to enjoy eternally. And the pain Lazarus endured was now inflicted on the rich man for eternity.
The rich man begged Abraham to warn his five brothers, who were also materialistic, of what was to come. But Abraham reminded the rich man that his brothers had the Word of God. They should listen to it and live by it.
>> What are simple, no-cost ways you can celebrate this Christmas? Maybe it is reading a favorite Christmas story aloud by candlelight. Or putting on an at-home Christmas pageant with your children or grandchildren. Consider special ways you can honor God with your celebration of this holiday.
Your Word is powerful. We pray for those among the Jewish people who treasure the Torah but have not accepted Jesus as Messiah. Open their eyes, Lord God; show them how Moses and the Prophets point to the One who has risen!