The Rich Man and Lazarus

No one is better able to minister to those who are paralyzed and confined to wheelchairs than Joni Eareckson Tada! I’ve told Joni, “You don’t even have to speak. All you’ve gotta do is roll your wheelchair up to the microphone and sit and smile and you minister.” … More



This is a parable of a rich man who feasted in luxury and a poor man (Lazarus) who was a beggar that was covered with ulcerated sores; and so helpless that he could not even ward off the street dogs which pestered him (vv. 19-22). (This Lazarus should not be confused with the Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead). What was the sin of this rich man? He had not ordered Lazarus to be removed from his gate. He had made no objections to his receiving the bread that was flung away from his table. He did not kick him in the passing. He was not deliberately cruel to him. The sin of the rich man was that he never noticed Lazarus, that he accepted him as part of the landscape and simply thought it perfectly natural and inevitable that Lazarus should lie in pain and hunger while he wallowed in luxury. It was not what he did that got him into hell; it was what he did not do that got him there. His was the punishment of the man who never noticed.

The rich man did not go to hell because of his wealth, but because he refused to feed Lazarus, or to care for him. The sin of this rich man was that he could look on the world’s suffering and need and feel no pain of grief and pity pierce his heart; he looked at a fellow-man, hungry and in pain, and did nothing about it. It seems hard that his request that his brothers should be warned was refused (vv.23-31). But it is the plain fact that if men possess the truth of God’s Word, and if, wherever they look, there is sorrow to be comforted, needs to be supplied, pain to be relieved, and it moves them to no feeling and to no action, nothing will change them. It is a terrible warning that the sin of the rich man was not that he did wrong things, but that he did nothing.



This definitely describes the punishment of a man who never noticed the needs of others around him. Lord help me to notice the physical and spiritual needs of those who cross my path and do what I can to share the love of Christ with them.

Luke 16:19-31 (English Standard Version)

"There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house-- for I have five brothers--so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'"

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