Text: There was a certain rich man ….And there was a certain “beggar;              Luke 16:19-20.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus gives us a peep into the unseen world and as well tells us one of the Christian responsibilities expected of us.

The parable tells us that the poor man, Lazarus went to heaven while the rich man went to hell. We must not suppose that Lazarus made heaven because he was poor and the rich man went to hell because he was rich. Lazarus went to heaven because in his poverty, he did not compromise nor had he grudges in his heart against the rich man who neglected him in his suffering. The rich man went to hell, not because he was rich but because he failed to take cognizance of and neither did he assist his poor neighbor. Moreover, he failed to recognize that it was God who made him rich; and as well failed to use his wealth as expected of him by God. ‘The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the people that forget God; but riches are a great snare to keep our hearts to earth and from God (Psalm 9:17-20; Hos. 12:8; Deut. 8:13-14 Prov.  30:8-9; Mark 10:22-23).

Beloved, it is important for us to learn from the rich man so that we don’t suffer the same fate with him in the afterlife. Despite the fact, as we can infer from the parable that the rich man did not get his wealth by fraud, he was not a drunkard, a fornicator or an adulterer yet he ended in hell, simply because with his riches, he only thought of himself and his immediate family; he cared less for the poor than for the animals of his pleasure. He gave food to his dogs while poor Lazarus was dying of hunger.

It is important for us to know that in the after-life we will be judged by the way we related with our fellow men especially the poor and the less privileged. This is clearly explained in Jesus’ parable concerning the future Judgment in Matthew 25:31-46 where those who neglected the poor, the sick, the prisoner and stranger were condemned to eternal damnation and those who took care of them were blessed with the eternal Kingdom.

Right from the Old Testament God gave us injunctions on treating the poor. The summary of it all, is that we are to stand with the poor in their sufferings, we are to help them, be kind to them, and make provisions for them (Lev. 19:9-10, 25:35-36; Deut 15:7-11) we are to uphold their cause, not to oppress them, not to pervert justice against them, not to exploit them and not to discriminate against them.  (Psalm 82:3-4; Lev. 19:15; Psalm 140:12; Prov. 14:31; James 2:2-4 ).

Beloved, the economic situation of our Country has on daily basis increased the number of the poor people among us. This calls us to be thankful to God for his provisions and also to always consider the poor in our budgets. Taking care of the poor is an important Christian responsibility.

 

Very Revd Adewale Adebiyi Ph.D

The Provost

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