The Lesson of Lazarus
Largely because of my father, from whom I learned many lessons, I eventually learned what I call the “Lesson of Lazarus.” It came about pretty much when I was in sixth or seventh grade. At that time my school work came rather easily for me and I rarely had to study or ever had difficulty with my homework. However, one of my younger brothers was not so lucky. Studies did not come easily for him and he very often pleaded with me for help with his homework. Sadly, I almost never willingly gave him help, and if I did help him it was pretty much because my dad intervened and forced me to do so. On one of those nights we were in his room and it was quite loud. He was very upset that I was once again refusing to help him and I was very emphatically letting him know that I had better things to do with my time than to assist him. At that rather untimely moment my father stepped into the room. To me he said “Boy, get to your room!” and to my brother he said, “Come with me.” I quickly scurried to my room but soon realized, because the back stairway was very close to my door, that my father and my brother had gone to the kitchen downstairs. They were down there for a while and eventually I heard my brother laughing! This made me a bit distraught so I went down the steps to see what was going on and when I got into the kitchen I could not believe my eyes. My brother and father were sharing a bowl of ice cream! I was shocked. I blurted out words to the effect that this was not fair, that really my brother was the one who caused the trouble and that I had not done any thing wrong. Well now I’d thought that I’d really done myself in and that I was going to get it. But my father simply told me to sit down and said, “Sooner or later you are going to have to realize that life is not so much about the bad things that you didn’t do; it’s about the good things you did do. Now back to bed and have a good night.” To me, that is the “Lesson of Lazarus.” We need to realize that in this parable, the rich man was not condemned for anything he did that was wrong. He did nothing to Lazarus. Actually that was the problem. He did nothing for Lazarus either. He ignored him completely and this was the reason for his eternal punishment. Lazarus teaches us that at the time of our judgment, the Lord is going to be at least as much concerned about the good we did not do than the wrong we did do.