Luke 16:19-31 (NRSV)
Verse 19"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. Verse 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, Verse 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. Verse 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. Verse 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. Verse 24He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' Verse 25But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Verse 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.' Verse 27He said, 'Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house- Verse 28for I have five brothers-that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.' Verse 29Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.' Verse 30He said, 'No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' Verse 31He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
The issue of fundraising can often be a quite draining part of our parish lives. After visiting Africa in 2012, I was humbled to reflect on who the rich really are. They include us!
My Swahili language translator would tell me “Just eat, Roger,” after the fourth chicken of the day had been cooked just for me as I visited in a church member’s home. I was stuffed. Yet my translator told me the family would not eat meat for a month, because they had shared what they had with me.
While soliciting funds for a church building addition, I would pray after a home visit, “Father, may all of us know that the love of money provides temporary satisfaction, but your love, Father, lasts forever.” Sharing is so important as followers of Christ. This text invites serious reflection. God calls us who are rich to share our gifts to help others. My trip to Africa taught me about what it really means to give sacrificially.
Gracious God, may we learn daily what it means to give sacrificially. You have given to us so that we might share all we have with others. Amen.