This week, I preach on the text of the Rich man and Lazarus. It's found in Luke 16.
The Rich man is loaded. He has all he needs. Then there is Lazarus. He's a poor man. He's an outcast, licked by dogs. He's passed by and eats the droppings off the table of the Rich man.
The Rich man overlooks the poor man. He closes his ear to the needs of Lazarus.
Proverbs 21:13 (NRSV)
13 If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,
you will cry out and not be heard.
They both die. Lazarus goes to be with Abraham, while the Rich man is greatly separated and in a place of suffering. He longs for Lazarus to notice and care for him.
There is a great reversal in the story that doesn't bode well for the Rich man. He cries out and he isn't heard. More precisely, the Rich man isn't helped. It's the first time in a long time where he makes a request that goes unanswered, unmet.
He's treated how he treated Lazarus before they both died.
Don't get lost in who gets in to heaven and hell. I don't think it's about that.
I think it is about listening to the needs of others and responding in kindness, generosity and love in a way that brings honor to God.
God, open our ears to the cry of the poor,
Let their suffering be no more
As we hear and see their need
before you we plead
to make your world right
and bring your Kingdom here in full view of our sight.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.