A message for the week starting on Sunday 25 September 2022
Lectionary Week: 16th Sunday After Pentecost
Prescribed Texts: Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15, Psalms 91:1-6,14-16, 1 Timothy 6:6-19, Luke 16:19-31
Rich Man, Poor man
Focus Text: Luke 16:19-31
In the text we see two categories of people: the rich and the poor. We are seeing the distinction in our communities and in society. The rich man whose name is not mentioned in this section, was probably feeding his dogs scraps of meat off the table as it was customary. We can see that he did not have the ability to empathize with the poor, whilst knowing they are begging at his gate. Verse 20 tells us that there was a man named Lazarus sitting at his gate. Poverty is very challenging and what makes it even worse, is when there is a further lack of opportunity and lack of resources.
Lazarus was covered in sores and dogs came and licked it. So often we see the poor and the sick begging for food at traffic intersections and in our streets, but we see them as a nuisance. We take things for granted and yet there are people out there that do not even have their basic needs met. If we were to bring Lazarus into our time, we would see that both the health system and the social welfare had failed him. But instead of looking at these big state departments, there is also a human perspective whereby we as individuals are doing nothing about the plight of people in need. If we are the body of Christ, why are we not responding, like Christ did, to the needs of the vulnerable and the poor?
In verse 22 we see that death came to both the rich and the poor. The end of life comes to all of us. But the way we lived our lives, determines our final destination. Our response to the plight of others in need, is what makes our wealth positive or negative.
The question we need to ask is who are the poor, as these are relative statements. We all find ourselves in situations where we can look up to those who are more resourceful ourselves and we therefore say we are poor in comparison. Other times we can look down on those that have way less than what we have and therefore think that we are rich. But irrespective of the extent of our resources, we must always be the eyes, hands and feet of God for those who are in need.
To think about: We all have shortcomings and can do with more. But have you noticed how many people have much less then what you have? Let us be God’s eyes, hands and feet and support those in need at our gates.
Written by: Rev. Wycliffe Ngoya, Kenya, and trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator