Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11-09-11 To Be Rich and Poor: Part 2

“He then cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented…’” – Luke 16:24-25

Today’s Reading: Luke 16:19-31

I last wrote about an encounter I had with a homeless woman. This verse shows an important reason why Lazarus was in hell and perhaps another motivation for why I did not give the woman some money.

Even to the bitter end the rich man was focused on himself.

Think about this for a second. The rich man lived with Lazarus at his doorstep for some time and didn’t help him, yet he asks that the same Lazarus travel away from paradise and into hell so that he might give him a drop of water to drink.

How selfish is that!?

But also, how human is that? It is just like us to be so focused on our circumstances that we would ask someone to enter into our world in order to save us, even if it means that they too must suffer. It was this same selfishness that prevented the rich man from helping Lazarus when they were living. He couldn’t see Lazarus because he was so busy looking at himself.

When the woman asked me for money I definitely felt a sense of loss. I thought about what I could do with the money. I thought about the bills that I have to pay, the parking ticket that I got the week before, the rent that was due. Even though these thoughts happened in a flash and were only a small part of my motivation (I hope), they still played a part in my decision process. When we look at our lives and our circumstances it is easy to find reasons why we shouldn’t help others.

When life is all about us then there is no room for God to enter in.

God is love and living in love requires us to get outside of ourselves and put our focus on God. This is the magic behind Jesus’ great commandments. He instructs us to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. When we switch the focus from ourselves and onto God then we can begin to learn what it means to truly love.

Food for Thought: What are some ways that you view life through the lens of “self” instead of through God’s eyes? What can you do to change this?

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