Sunday 26 September 2010

Bible Book:

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'" (v.31)

Luke 16:19-31 Sunday 26 September 2010


Is this perhaps the most unsettling of all Jesus' stories forany reader who could give more to those in need?

A rich man feasts sumptuously every day and ignores the plight ofthe starving Lazarus at his gate. When they both die the rich man,burning in hell, begs the Old Testament figure Abraham to sendLazarus to give him water. When Abraham refuses, the rich man asksfor his brothers to be warned about what is in store for them.Abraham again refuses, saying that Moses and the prophets havealready made their responsibility clear.

Most of us will not have people starving at our front gates, but wemay encounter beggars on the street, and no one can be unaware thatmany people in the developing world die each day for lack of cleanwater, adequate food and medicine. On a national and a globalscale, this parable of Jesus is still going on, with mostChristians in the developed world cast in the role of the rich man.The title of Ron Sider's 1977 book captures something of thescandal: 'Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger'.

Jesus makes it very plain that excuses are not enough for those whoignore the cries of the poor. The passage links to the strangeparable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) where the message is stillstronger: those who refuse to help the hungry and thirsty refusehelp to Jesus himself. Disciples of Jesus Christ cannot escapetheir responsibility to care for the needs of the poor.

What then are we to do? Traditionally, Christians have tithed theirwealth - given away a tenth of their income - though the practiceseems to have fallen into decline. Some have suggested that eventithing is insufficient for the wealthy. The example of thebillionaire Warren Buffett is striking, who has committed to giveaway 85% of his huge fortune to charity.

To Ponder

Why do you think Jesus told this parable?

What do you think it means for Christianstoday?

How will you respond?

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