Jesus told a pretty interesting story
Luke 16:19-31……”There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz’arus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz’arus in his bosom. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz’arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘SON, REMEMBER THAT YOU IN YOUR LIFETIME RECEIVED YOUR GOOD THINGS, AND LAZARUS IN LIKE MANNER EVIL THINGS; BUT NOW HE IS COMFORTED HERE, AND YOU ARE IN ANGUISH. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘IF THEY DO NOT HEAR MOSES AND THE PROPHETS, NEITHER WILL THEY BE CONVINCED IF SOME ONE SHOULD RISE FROM THE DEAD.”
I find this story interesting because it is about two men and the only difference between the two of them…….is the fact that one is rich ….. and one is poor.
They both die…….one is comforted and one is in anguish.
The rich man is in anguish simply because in his lifetime he received “good things”.
The poor man is comforted because in his lifetime he received “evil things”.
It appears as though you cant have both ends of the stick…….its one or the other.
We can choose to be comforted in this life…….or comforted in the next life.
This is indeed subject to if what Jesus is saying is the truth…….which for the sake of the discussion we have chosen to believe.
His last line I found even more significant.
“Even if a man is raised from the dead and goes to tell another rich man that he will be in anguish in the next life…….the man would not be convinced”.
Needless to say…….it is a pretty hard pill for any rich man to swallow.
I dare say if you were rich……you would have great difficulty accepting this message.
After working hard to obtain the glories of this life…….. why would you want to give them up?
Jesus told a story of a different rich man:
Luke 12:16-31…….. “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT YOU SHALL EAT, NOR ABOUT YOUR BODY, WHAT YOU SHALL PUT ON. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! And DO NOT SEEK WHAT YOU ARE TO EAT AND WHAT YOU ARE TO DRINK, NOR BE OF ANXIOUS MIND. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. INSTEAD, SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND THESE THINGS SHALL BE YOURS AS WELL.
This is a scripture that at a certain point in my life I had a bit of difficulty believing.
It was hard to accept that I shouldn’t seek what I am to eat or what I’m to drink.
It was hard to accept that I shouldn’t worry about such things.
I live alone…….if I don’t worry about these things……who will?
It was only until I found myself in a particular situation that this scripture became very real in my life.
I was broke.
I made what I considered to be a wise investment intending on reaping the benefits a few weeks down the line, in time to pay my rent.
Let’s just say things didn’t go quite according to plan.
My rent was due……. I had taken too long to look for a job.
I was down to zero…… trust me when I say “zero” isn’t a metaphor….. it was pretty literal.
So I borrowed money from a friend to pay my rent.
I generally don’t ask my parents for money outside my budget…… I like to make things up for myself…….. lets just say since leaving the illegal side of things……money is a lot harder to come by.
So I was stuck……. I was 600 pounds in debt……. And I had no clue how I was going to get “food” for the next 2 months.
But then the scripture above came to mind.
“Do not be anxious about what you will eat or drink”.
And for whatever reason……I believed it.
For two months……..i went only a total of 2 days without food.
It was an unbelievable experience.
I would get random phone calls from friends I haven’t spoken to in weeks inviting me for dinner.
I had a friend who constantly gave me noodles, cause he had just brought them back from Nigeria.
I had a friend who called me every other day talking about food and asking if I had eaten that day.
My housemates on a few random occasions made food for the house.
I had a friend who had a massive sack of garri and she randomly came over to my house to cook.
A friend of mine I hadnt spoken to in a month woke up and gave my old man 100 pounds to send to me from Nigeria.
Why were all these things happening?……..coincidence?…….or just good fortune?
Through the entire period I had an ongoing discussion with a friend concerning all these random occurences.
And I started to ask myself certain questions.
Would I have believed that God provides food if I hadn’t been in a situation where I needed him to?
Ive come to realise that bad things as we know them may not be as bad as the world leads us to believe
How can you know God as a healer if you never fall sick?
How can you know God as a deliverer when you have never been in situation that caused you to need deliverance?
How can you know God as a redeemer if you have never lost anything?
How could I know God as a provider…….if I have never lacked food?
These are questions that once we start to see the answers to…… it gives a whole new perspective on life.
Matthew 11:4-6……..And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, AND THE POOR HAVE GOOD NEWS PREACHED TO THEM. And BLESSED IS HE WHO TAKES NO OFFENCE AT ME.”
Evidently…… it is pretty good news to a poor man….. to hear that God is in the business of providing food.
But I rather like the last line that Jesus said
“Blessed is he who takes no offence at me”.
Why would Jesus say this?
The things that Jesus says…….are offensive.
If you were a rich man…… you would be pretty offended to hear that you will be in anguish later on simply because in this life you received good things.
But you are blessed if you are not offended.
Once we start to realise the reality of his message…….
We may begin to see…… that there are a lot less things in this life to worry about than we think.
To be continued…….