Intro: Prior to our passage today from the gospel of Mark, Jesus has been teaching his disciples and the Pharisees about being good stewards of money and resources. Jesus is not setting himself up to be a “financial advisor,” however, he is without question the PERFECT “heart advisor.” The Pharisees loved money and many of them lived in luxury while at the same time ignoring the needs of those poor in spirit or broken by life living among them. The Pharisees believed wealth was the proof of a person’s righteousness; however, they were actually parading their selfishness before God. They did not use God’s resources to welcome and minister to the needs of others; to nurture their eternal relationship with God. Rather, these leaders used God’s resources for themselves and their own pious hidden agendas to look good.
The Pharisees tried to justify their poor stewardship and distribution of God’s resources, but Jesus spoke the truth as he told 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 the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). There will always be a temptation in humanity to serve money more than God. Money isn’t evil; yet, the “love” of money can lead to all kinds of evil.
In our passage today, Jesus shares a lesson about the need for the good stewardship of God’s resources. He hopes the Pharisees are listening. If we serve God with our money, then we will step forward to help our neighbors when they are suffering or experiencing the challenges of life. As well, we will give resources to make a difference in the Kingdom and to draw more people to Christ. In this way, we identify with Christ’s sacrifice for us and are choosing to use material wealth to further the eternal realm of the Lord. Selfishness causes humans to be separated from God—divine Love. As believers, we serve God and should wisely steward the resources he brings into our lives. May we pay attention to the Words of our Master.
Luke 16:19-31 NLT Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
19 Jesus continued. “There once was a very rich man who had the finest things imaginable, living every day enjoying his life of opulent luxury. 20–21 Outside the gate of his mansion was a poor beggar named Lazarus [name translates ‘God helps’]. He lay there every day, covered with boils, and all the neighborhood dogs would come and lick his open sores. The only food he had to eat was the garbage that the rich man threw away.
22 “One day poor Lazarus died, and the angels of God came and escorted his spirit into paradise.
23 “The day came that the rich man also died. In hell he looked up from his torment and saw Abraham in the distance, and Lazarus was standing beside him in the glory. 24 The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham! Father Abraham! Have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and come to cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames of fire!’
25 “But Abraham responded, ‘My friend, don’t you remember? While you were alive, you had all you desired. You surrounded yourself in luxury, while Lazarus had nothing. Now Lazarus dwells in the comforts of paradise and you are in agony. 26 Besides, between us is a huge chasm that cannot be bridged, nor can anyone cross from one realm to the other, even if he wanted.’
Prayer: Lord, thank you for teaching your children to be givers and to shine compassion upon those who need a hand up and a lift to the soul. May you receive all the glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.