Monday, November 17, 2008
Begging at the Gate
"Remember that in your lifetime you received good things while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted and you are in agony." Luke 16:25
After a fender bender this past weekend, I had to take my car to the repair shop early this morning. While filling out paperwork and talking to the man who was helping me, I noticed an ad on his desk from a charity that was raffling off a car. Not just any car, but the classic car I have always dreamed of owning. The individual tickets were pretty steep, but I had a momentary lapse and wondered if I shouldn't take a chance. I saw myself, driving down a sunlight fall road, turning jealous heads where ever I went. I could hear the oohs and aahs. And then I thought of all the good the money could do elsewhere in these times. But I was sorely tempted, imagining myself tooling around in my dream car. Parading luxury and elegance in front of everyone. We all have moments when we wish we could be 'dressed in purple and live in luxury everyday'. And yet, there is also an awareness in us that our comfort might come at the cost of stepping over and ignoring another. And that, for me, is too big a price to pay.
Jesus tells the story of Lazarus and the rich man. One has a name and one a station. Funny, that in his telling of the story, we know the name of the hungry, crippled, sore covered beggar, but we do not know the rich man's name. The rich man selfishness is the bigger character in the story. I am always struck by the idea that Jesus knows the name of every wounded character, every beggar, every ne'er do well, but has no name for the wealthy ones. The wealthy one has no need of a savior, no need of a relationship with God, no need for a relationship with anyone. Wealth provides self-sufficiency and isolation.
Today, I want to live unashamed of my neediness. I want to revel in my dependency and interdependency with others and with Christ Jesus. We are known by name in our neediness and honesty, as we can be lost in our self-sufficiency. Today, I want to simply to be grateful for what I have - relationships, love and a community of faith.
May we all take courage from Lazarus, who is named and loved by Jesus. We aren't failures if we don't have the outward signs of success. We are asked only to love as we have been loved -completely and fully.