The Forgotten Lazarus
“…at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.” Luke 16:20
Perhaps you are familiar with a man named Lazarus from the Bible. However, the Lazarus named in Luke is not the Lazarus you may have in mind. This Lazarus was not from a town called Bethany and was not raised from the dead. This is the Lazarus that we forget about. And he was a forgotten character in his own time.
In Luke 16, Jesus tells a parable about a rich man, who had a surplus of fine food and clothing, and the poor man, Lazarus, who sat suffering at the gate of the rich man with an empty stomach and painful sores. In death, the rich man finds himself in agony but sees Lazarus far off and comforted by angels. The rich man pleads for mercy for himself and for his family to be warned. But his pleas are ignored. He had his chances in life and ignored the laws of God by ignoring his poor neighbor.
This parable has an Ebenezer Scrooge feel to it, with the rich man regretting his ignorance of Lazarus’ needs. And this story serves as a warning for us to not ignore the needs of others. Every day, we neglect the needs of others when we walk quickly past a homeless person or quickly forget about the suffering of others we see on the morning news. As Christians, we are called to pay attention to the needs of others and share the love of Christ by offering what we can to help and advocating for just laws and programs that keep people from suffering. So, will we pay attention to the Lazarus’ we see this week? Keep your eyes and hearts open as we seek to serve the Lord.