“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. – Lk. 16:25 NIV
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Jesus Christ had just finished a teaching on why the Christian must not manage earthly wealth in a manner that will constitute an obstacle to accessing eternal wealth. He had made the Disciples and all Christians in general know that earthly wealth has been entrusted to all, especially the Christian and the Almighty God will consider the mismanagement of earthly wealth as dishonesty, and this may deprive such a Christian of access to heavenly rewards – Lk. 16:1-15.
In order to buttress this teaching, he cited a case study which may be seen as another parable except that unlike previous parables, names were mentioned thus giving the impression that this event was indeed a reality. It may be that it has happened or it will happen but the picture painted is too vivid for the story to be regarded as a mere illustration.
Lazarus and a rich man whose identity was not revealed by Jesus Christ had both completed their term on earth (Lk. 16:22) and were in different locations where they could see one another but with a gulf reportedly separating them such that it was impossible for movement to occur from one side to the other – Lk. 16:26.
Whilst on earth, the rich man was reported to be living comfortably surrounded by all the evidences of earthly wealth whilst Lazarus was constantly at his gate and all he could aspire to was the crumbs from the rich man’s table – Lk. 16:19-20. Jesus did not reveal in the story whether the aspirations of Lazarus as humble as they were, were met but he did reveal the health status of Lazarus in the fact that he was covered with sores so much so that dogs were feasting on him even whilst he was still alive. All these happened to Lazarus whilst he was seated at the rich man’s gate – Lk. 16:20.
It however seemed like role reversal when in the life after life, the rich man found himself roasting in Hell whilst Lazarus was in the bosom of Abraham. The request of the rich man, who must have wondered why he found himself in that location unlike Lazarus who seemed to be in a comfortable state in the bosom of Abraham, that Lazarus be sent to provide him succor was rejected by father Abraham who immediately reminded him of the time he spent on earth and how he used his earthly wealth for personal purposes alone with Lazarus who was seated at his gate wallowing in poverty and ill-health. Moreso, it was going to be impossible to have Lazarus provide the much needed succor for him when he did not do same for Lazarus whilst they were both on earth. Only the merciful will obtain mercy according to the teachings of Jesus Christ on the mount – Matt. 5:7. What a reward for mismanaged wealth. He had failed to use earthly wealth to secure a good welcome for himself in eternity – Lk. 16:9.
In an instant, the picture of Lazarus in front of his gate with all the sores would have flashed in his face with regrets for not doing the needful. All he needed to have done was to have shown mercy to Lazarus after all what would it have cost him to have Lazarus properly treated and provided a means of livelihood that can take him away from living a beggarly life. He had mismanaged earthly wealth and there was no way to rectify the error since there is no repentance in the grave – Heb. 9:27. He pleaded that message be sent to his five brothers who probably were still living the life that he lived but was reminded that they had enough sources, ranging from the teachings of Moses to the that of the prophets as documented in the Holy Scriptures for guidance to knowing what was expected of them. Sending someone from the dead will not make any difference if those sources have not succeeded in bringing them into this simple truth. – Lk. 16:27-31.
The Christian today is probably one of those five brothers who will still not realise that earthly wealth must be shrewdly managed. All that earthly wealth in whatever form it may be is not because of your efficiency or hard work, but because of His grace. He made it clear in his Word that he it is that gives power to make wealth – Deut. 8:17-18. This He did for a purpose and none implementation of this His purpose will make Him regard such and dispensed Grace as a waste and such an individual as dishonest and untrustworthy – Lk. 16:10-12. Do not wait until you arrive at the wrong destination before heeding this divine advise. The rich man did not go to Hell because he was wealthy but because he mismanaged earthly wealth. Save yourself from eternal deprivation and denial of access to personal treasures by seeking divine wisdom on how to manage earthly wealth. May God save us all from the consequences of mismanaged earthly wealth in Jesus name. Amen.