Jul
21

Trinity I Sunday

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Trinity I
Luke 16:19-31

“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead”.

Beloved in Christ, you may be asking yourselves why the Good Lord named the poor man of the parable but did not name the rich man. Why? 

To understand this question, we need to refer to the context of the story. When we look at the verses that precede our passage (Luke 16: 1…), we see that the Lord spoke to his disciples and gave them a teaching that ended with the following conclusion:  “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16: 13). The Pharisees reacted immediately to that teaching of Jesus (Luke 16:14). Then Jesus moved on and replied to them:

“You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it… There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.”

It was therefore to the Pharisees that Jesus addressed the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

Some Christians see in this story an actual event related by Jesus to the Pharisees. According to this view, the story of the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable but literal biography. The details given by Luke lead to that position. For example, it is not usual to hear Jesus giving a character’s personal name. He always refers to the characters as “a certain man”, “a sower”, etc. But here, the poor man has a name while the rich man does not.

The answer to our question is that we are in the kingdom’s perspective here. The standards of the kingdom are not the standards of the world. You can be rich and powerful in this world. In the sight of God you are nothing. Remember, “blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God”. The poverty we are talking about here is not a material poverty, but poverty in God, meaning totally depending on God; Acknowledging that God is the source of our life, source of blessings, source of healing, and source of breakthrough.

In this story, Jesus seems to say that riches have no value for anything after we die. But that’s not the central point of the story. We need to get hold of what Jesus is teaching today

The Lesson of the Story

The parable of the Rich man and Lazarus is teaching us a similar lesson to that of the Unjust steward (Luke 16:1-9). We have the option to use our money to secure friendship in Eternal life, or to perish like the rich man. We can title this story “the punishment of the Man who never noticed”. You see, Lazarus was at his door and he didn’t notice. The question to you this morning is this: who is at your door and you don’t notice?

  • The single mother who is living below the poverty level but is too weak to ask for help;
  • The families where the breadwinner is sick or jobless;
  • The poor in third world countries who are out of sight and out of mind.

Wealth is not bad. From the Bible, we learn that Abraham was wealthy. But each time that God blesses someone with wealth, he also gives certain responsibilities, a certain stewardship. This means we are to give account for how we handle the wealth God has given us. We are to give generously and out of love of God within us. We are to give not selfishly, but selflessly to care for the needs of those around us.

We thank God for his blessings. We also ask him to give us a heart for the poor and suffering; to destroy the tower that we have built to protect ourselves from the pain and misery of those Lazarus at our doors. Let us pray:

Father God, let me love the poor as Jesus loves them. Please let my Bible knowledge be a blessing for me, not a curse. Let me be Jesus’ disciple in deeds. In his precious and mighty Name I have prayed.

Amen!