Jesus told the story of a rich man and Lazarus with a deep meaning in Luke 16:14-31. It includes a lot of life wisdom worthy of our meditation.
Recently Rev. Si from the "Heart-to-Heart" Fellowship of Hangzhou shared his reflection on the verses, talking about life wisdom in ten aspects.
Luke 16:14-31 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God's sight.
"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
"'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
Below is the take-away:
1. We can't serve both God and money.
The Pharisees, who loved money, mocked and despised Jesus for they thought Jesus talked nonsense. But Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. " (Matthew 6:24 )
2. The good things in our eyes don't always sound good to God.
We often justify ourselves; but, be aware that the good things like noble status and honor are detestable to God. We regard the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does as honor, while God doesn't think so. We find it difficult to accept this.
3. Jesus started a new journey: we need to strive to enter the Gospel.
Jesus launched a new journey, which is the Gospel. Compared to the time of the law, Jesus brought us into a new Gospel that requires us to make efforts because small is the gate and narrow the road with only a few can enter it.
4. "The rich man" persecuted "Lazarus."
When the rich man was alive, he enjoyed everything: fame and position. Completely opposite to him, Lazarus was under repeated attacks. Actually, the reality is that spiritual people are also persecuted by the unspiritual. The more spiritual we become, the more persecutions persist. So a spiritual man also suffers from many difficulties in real life, for instance, Jeremiah, Isaiah and David experienced great hardship and were bullied by many people.
5. The rich man and Lazarus had opposite endings after death compared to their earthly life.
Those unspiritual men are good at schemes and thoughtful; but, they have the opposite ends after death. The spiritual are by the side of Abraham. It mentions that the rich man was in agony many times. So we will live in comfort at that time despite the fact we endure hardships, difficulties and persecutions today.
We should be prepared for we will go through extreme difficulties and sufferings before the second coming of Jesus. Don't be remain to be an infant who lives on milk. Instead, grow mature and eat solid food.
6. Don't be arrogant and over-bearing on earth.
The rich man wanted to preach the Gospel to his five brothers and told them not to come to this place of torment. However, it was too late to deliver this message. We need to know the truth that if you are arrogant and over-bearing in this life, you'll suffer very much in the eternal life.
7. The people in the hell cry that don't come to them.
But their shouts don't make it.
8. We should not be unprepared.
If we don't get ready in the world, it will be too late to prepare ourselves after death. Take time to know more about Jesus and build your life on this rock.
9. We'll die if we don't listen to the Prophets and the law.
2 Chronicles 20:20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful."
We need to listen and obey God's word so that we can stand firm. Though we are inadequate, we have treasure, namely, God' word, in jars of clay. In this case, we are never struck down like tumblers. Aside from the Ten Commandments, we need to believe in the word of the Prophets, including Daniel and Jeremiah. They warned us and let us know the will of God.
We will be prosperous if we obey God's word, the law and word of the Prophets.
10. We should hear advices.
If we accept the encouragement and advices from God, we still have a chance. Otherwise, we have no other chances.
Translated by Karen Luo