I think most everyone loves a good story. When Jesus uses stories, he does so to teach the people about God’s word. The story that Jesus tells in Luke 19 doesn’t start out like a typical parable. He just starts telling the story of the unnamed Rich Man and Lazarus.
This story is a wonderful example of how there is comfort waiting for all Christians. Especially for those suffering with disease, chronic pain, emotional heart ache, and for those who bear the scars of a sinful world, this offers real hope of peace. Lazarus is not suffering. When God calls us home, we won’t either.
Not everyone reads these words with joy. This story references heaven, but it also references hell where the rich man was in torment. This means heaven and hell are real. We just covered why heaven being real is good; it isn’t very long jump in logic to see why hell being real is extremely bad. For starters 1) there is a God 2) that I have to answer to 3) and a place where I will have to go as punishment.
The tragedy of the story isn’t the rich man. The tragedy is that he can’t save the one he loves. It’s too late. He begs that someone might go back from the grave to warn them about the horrors of an all too real hell. Talk about regret! There are so many things that maybe we wish we could do over – do differently. Regret is a terrible thing. The truth is that God gives us everything that we need to be saved in his word. If a person refuses to listen to God’s word, it would not matter if a family member came back from the grave to tell them. Only God’s word can change a heart.
This is where faithfulness come in. Two of the greatest gifts that our God gives us are time and his word. Use your time wisely. Be faithful in your use of time – don’t waste it (at least not too much). A little time to recreate ourselves is appropriate and even healthy. Time spent with ones we love – even better – time spent with ones we love in God’s word is the height of faithfulness. As you watch this week’s sermon, consider how you can be faithful stewards of the king.