There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was a beggar named Lazarus covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on my and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.”
I started my study this week with the question, “Why does it seem that secular people and nonbelievers prosper when serious believers endure hardships?” Before I go into detail with my study, I believe I should clarify the “prosper” part of my question. What I mean is, it seems like the people who are very ambitious and work only for what they want rather than give to others with sacrifice get what they have worked for in surplus (money, success, whatever) while the people who put God first in their lives seem to have a much harder time achieving success in those same fields (money, success, whatever). Now perception is a key factor here, because we all tend to exaggerate our circumstances at times (especially with Facebook). But what I see is people constantly going out with friends and living it up. They have things that I know cost more than what I would ever want to pay, and seem to not really have to work at life. So, if I try to view as a realist, they probably hang out with the people they do because they all have something in common and they feed off of each other. They probably have payments each month that add up to too much, so they don’t buy new clothes or food (which is why they go out all the time but don’t make public that they only spend a total of $20.00 for one drink and maybe an appetizer). I don’t know and I refuse to try to assume. My point is, they make it appear to others that life is grand and they are on easy street. Of course, I have also seen the opposite end of the spectrum where people make public how much they are suffering and are constantly complaining.
Anyway, the first thing that came to my mind when I asked that question was, “Where is your treasure?” Of course this sent me straight to Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do no destroy and where thieves to not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also.”
Then I found this Psalm 92:6 The senseless man does not know, fools do not understand, that the though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed.
Then I had a thought, “We don’t necessarily suffer, we tend to want more than what we need”. But what about all the people who are suffering with disease? “There are a lot of people born with disease, but there are more people who were born healthy but lived an unhealthy life that encourages lots of chronic disease to grow and take over” Wow. That last thought took me to the Rich man and Lazarus and it makes perfect sense. But then as I read the passage again, another thought hit me that I hadn’t thought of before. The Rich Man STILL expected that Lazarus was beneath him enough to serve him water to quench his thirst! He was so blind and convinced that his perspective was right, and yet he was way off base.
My conclusion? Some of us have a servant attitude and some of us want to be served. Those of us who are servants tend to yearn to be served. Jesus made clear that God wants a servant attitude from ALL of us. Mark 8:34-36 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
That’s good enough for me.