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Leslie Wittenmyer

September 9, 2023

Luke 16:19-31, New Living Translation

“Jesus said, ‘There was a certain Rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen, and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man, named Lazarus, who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay their longing for scraps from the rich man’s table the dogs would come and lick his open sores…’”

There is a love, unlike any other love. When you open yourself to it, your life, and very being is transformed. You don’t care about things that you used to. Things you thought were good, really were not that good. Your outlook on life changes. You are no longer focused on material items or in self-centered mindsets. You begin to think about eternal things… The things that truly matter.

So many people are striving for the best of the best in everything. They want to be well to do so they can live, more than comfortably, when they reach retirement. All of this is fine if you have the proper mindset. How are you planning for your eternity? I have heard it said what we do echoes through eternity.

The story of the rich man and the beggar comes to my mind. The story can be found in Luke 16:19-31 (NLT). It reads as follows:

“Jesus said, ‘There was a certain rich man who was splendidly closed in purple and fine linen, and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate, a poor man named Lazarus lay covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there, longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. Finally, the poor man died, and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died, and was buried, and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and call my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’ Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have worn them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ the rich man, replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of your sins, intern to God.’ But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded, even if someone rises from the dead.’” 

What we see is a man filled with selfishness and pride. He only cared about himself. His wants, needs, and desires. Because he fulfilled the lust of the flesh, he got an eternal award in torment. He, of course, recognized it too late.

When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, He became the perfect example for us. He was tempted in every way and remained sinless. This was for our benefit, because He was the perfect sacrifice and atonement for our sins! But when He lived… He showed us how. He had compassion. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were confused and helpless, like sheep, without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NLT) His compassion moved Him to feed them, to love them, to share the gospel with them.

It didn’t stop there. He taught us to love one another as He loved us. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35, NLT) He taught us to forgive. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew.6:14-15, NLT) He taught us to not tolerate sin. “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have one that person back.” (Matthew 18:15, NLT) He taught us to use our gifts, so the church could function as the church. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person, the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another, the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, into someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message comes from the spirit of God, or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one, and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He will decide which gift each person should have.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, NLT)

With all of this being said, I pray that we all look inwardly on self, and ask… How am I spiritually? Am I fulfilling? What Christ put me here to do? When others see me, do they see Jesus? When we live our lives, Christ centered instead of self-centered, we truly have everything we need! We live the abundant life that Jesus promises. We realize what is most important.

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