Luke 16:19-26 - (Jesus said) "There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. 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 Lazarus at his side. And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad 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.'"
What is a chasm, exactly? It's a huge deep rift in the earth—a gulf, an abyss that nobody can cross. There are actually two chasms in the story. There is the chasm in the afterlife, but there's another one in the very beginning—the distance between the hungry beggar Lazarus and the rich man at his table. And that too seems to be an uncrossable distance.
It's plain that Lazarus can't do anything about it. He can't walk, and even if he could, the rich man's household would throw him out. The rich man could do something about the chasm, if he wanted to—but he doesn't. He knows that Lazarus is there, he even knows his name—but he isn't helping. And God takes that very seriously.
What is the rich man's problem? He has a hard heart. Even in the afterlife, he can only see Lazarus as somebody to exploit—a servant to bring him water. God forbid we should be like that!
And yet, would we even know if our hearts were like that? Our neighbors—the people who serve us in stores or restaurants—even the beggars on the street—do we see them as people, as fellow human beings with us who share the same needs and who deserve our attention and respect? Or does that chasm lie between us and them, invisible to our eyes?
It's a scary question, and one we need to consider with the Lord's help. For He is the only One who can cross the chasm between the holiness of God and the hardness of human hearts. He lay down His own life to remake our hearts, to cleanse us and forgive us and give us living hearts of flesh that love God and our neighbors, too. And He rose from the dead to give us life, peace, and mercy forever—as members of one family, the children of God. May His Holy Spirit open our eyes to the chasms around us, and help us to cross them in humility and love.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, open my eyes and make my heart like Yours. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What kind of people are most invisible to you?
2. What makes them and their needs invisible?
3. Why does Jesus call these people His brothers in Matthew 25:40?
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