Compassion and the Rich Man

The Rich Man

Good morning everyone. An old cliché says that where there is ability and need, there is responsibility.

Our Christian and leadership characteristic this month, compassion, always involves all three. We must allow the lesson of the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 to teach us. I know that we usually talk about the rich man and Lazarus, but our focus today is about the compassion of the rich man. I would like for you to put yourself in his shoes. You are quite rich. You live in an enclosed compound in a very nice home. You have been there for a while, but one day something changes. You are leaving your home, either on foot or in a chariot and you notice a man laying outside your gate. It is immediately apparent that he is a beggar. He is not a vagrant, for he cannot walk. He is in bad physical condition. What do you think about this? Do you notice him, but hurry on by, acknowledge him with a word of greeting and go on by or stop for a minute to find out who he is and what his needs are? Later in the day, might you ask your servants to find out who he is? Might you wish the beggar would go to another’s gate?

But he is there the next day, and the next, and the next. It soon becomes obvious, after a few weeks that he is here to stay. Have you learned his name yet? Have you personally talked with him? Are you sympathetic or repulsed by his condition? Have you offered him at least one meal a day? You can more than afford it. Have you learned that he is of good character, but difficult circumstances? Or have you attributed to him some unworthiness because of his infirmities? Have you talked with the ones who bring him there every day to learn more about his plight? From your perspective, is he bothersome to you or an opportunity to help a fellow man? Have you told him to be sure and come every day to your gate so that you could help him with a couple of solid meals each day?

Brothers and sisters, we know what the rich man did. God knows what you would do. What do you believe you would do? If we were to substitute the name of Jesus everywhere the word ‘you’ occurs, these questions would be easy to answer, for we know of the compassion of Jesus. The rich man died and was destined to be eternally tormented in fire. What about you? What about me?