Updated: Oct 4, 2019
Jesus is always urging us to enter into abundant life, showing us over and over again that a life of overflowing joy comes only in seeing everyone around us as God’s beloved children deserving our care, attention, and fellowship. When we see those around us as gifts of God and experience the blessing of sharing what we have with others, then we see close-up the abyss that Jesus tells us about in Luke 16:19-31, and fill it with the powerful love of God. Father Abraham protects his beloved Lazarus in his embrace, and sees no hope for the rich man’s blind faith and empty heart still trying to boss the beggar around even after death. The rich man utterly fails to see Lazarus, just like many of us today who have a “Lazarus” that we refuse to see. This parable is a clear and simple example of what it really means if we do or do not live a life of good deeds, and what the consequences really are! This past week I read a mission statement that shows how one of our world’s wealthiest families seems to have learned the idea behind this gospel lesson. Just look at what they have incorporated into their beliefs. The statement says: “Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives." It focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. Oh, what a different story it would be, if Lazarus could have been sitting on Bill and Melinda’s front door step! Why are we so slow to learn that we are all woven together in the reign of God and we all play a part in making God’s creation good? Some have everything they need and more at their disposal; while others have nothing and are suffering far more than they can stand. And we can lend a hand, or we can look the other way-- There’s a reason generous people are happier than stingy ones! God created us to be in relationship with those around us, and we experience the fullness of the life God intends and offers only when we embrace the people God has set in our path. Don’t ignore the “Lazaruses” in your life; learn how you can embrace them! Jesus teaches us that abundant life only happens in community, when we embrace one another with God’s love! Before you can have compassion for people, you have to see them, acknowledge their presence, needs, gifts and above all their status as children of God worthy of respect and dignity. The "Guest House" ministry is one way to embrace the ones we are called to help. Please join us in this embrace.